Imagine having to work long hours, in degrading conditions, for very little pay. OK, for most readers, it’s not so hard to imagine. But for the Raiderettes – the Oakland Raiders cheerleading squad – it’s been even worse than whatever you’re going through. And now, the Raiderettes are going to get some relief; they have settled their lawsuit against the team.
In January, a group of Raiderettes filed suit against the team, according to this Inquisitr report. The suit alleged several violations of California’s labor standards.
- They were paid just $1,250 per season. Considering practices, games, and mandated appearances, that meant an average of 350 hours of work per season for the Raiderettes, which works out to $3.50 per hour, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
- The Raiderettes got their pay, after whatever fines were docked, in one lump sum at the end of the five-month-long season.
- The team found other, creative ways to limit the Raiderettes’ pay, including docking their pay for showing up to practice with the wrong nail polish or the wrong pom-poms, according to Silver And Black Pride.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Raiderettes’ pay will be tripled – to minimum wage – and they will get paid every two weeks. The team will also pay $1.25 million in back pay to some 90 Raiderettes, current and former, according to L.A. Times. That works out to just under $14,000 for each Raiderette, before taxes and attorneys’ fees. One of the original plaintiffs, identified only as Lacy T., told the L.A. Times that she feels vindicated by the outcome of the lawsuit.
“I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing this long journey is over and will end happily for 90 women. I know we’re just cheerleaders to people, but we’re low-wage workers working for a billion-dollar industry.”
The Raiderettes’ suit brought public attention to the low pay, and, arguably, degrading working conditions of various cheerleading squads throughout the NFL. According to the Christian Science Monitor, several other NFL cheerleading squads – including those from the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Cincinnati Bengals – brought suits against their teams following the Raiderettes’ lead. The suits all made complaints similar to the Raiderettes; low pay, unpaid appearances and other complaints.
Former Buffalo Bills cheerleader – a “Jill” – alleged that she was forced to appear, unpaid, at a team golf outing and at a dunk tank in a bikini, according to the Monitor.
“I signed up to be a cheerleader, not whatever you want to call that. The treatment we endured was unacceptable, and the public needs to know and understand the situation we were in.”
Do you believe the Raiderettes had a legitimate complaint to file a lawsuit? Let us know below.
[Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated]