Fair Pay for Cheerleaders Discussed Across the U.S.
Cheerleaders on the sidelines and dancing at halftime are an integral part of the professional football and basketball experience. The squads of cheerleaders have strict schedules for rehearsals, learn multiple routines, perform at numerous games throughout the season, attend charity and promotional events, and adhere to strict guidelines for their appearance. Despite all of this time, energy, and work these cheerleaders dedicate to the team that employs them and to the fans, many of the teams in both the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have come under fire for serious wage violations in regard to cheerleaders.
The wage problems for professional cheerleaders was brought into the public spotlight by women who cheered for the Oakland Raiders. Lawsuits were also filed against the New York Jets, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the details of each lawsuit varied, there was a common theme: the cheerleaders were not paid the deserved minimum wage for every hour they worked.
The women stated they were paid about $100 to $125 per game, depending on the team. However, they spent a significant amount of time at calendar shoots, rehearsing, and at other team events. Additionally, they had to pay out-of-pocket for haircuts and color and other appearance upkeep. Overall, the per-game stipend did not come close to minimum wage they deserved for the time they spent working for the team.
The NFL had justified the dismal wages by classifying the women as independent contractors. However, the teams had a significant amount of control over their cheerleaders. The women were told how to look, dress, and act, as well as monitored for body fat and more. This level of control was more akin to employees than any independent contractor under the law.
Some Progress Has Been Made
So far, the Raiders settled their lawsuit by paying $1.25 million to the class of plaintiffs and a law passed in California that cheerleaders would receive minimum wage and overtime. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently settled for $825,000 to pay about 96 current and former cheerleaders back pay and the team now pays its cheerleaders minimum wage. The other cases are still pending.
Contact An Experienced Florida Wage And Hour Attorney For Assistance
Employee misclassification and minimum wage violations can happen in almost any industry and, sometimes, can even be particularly common within a certain industry. In such situations, it may seem difficult to be the one to stand up for your rights to proper wages under the law. However, you do not have to fight for your rightful wages alone, as an experienced Florida employment law attorney is here to help you. At the law office of Robert S. Norell, P.A., we are committed to helping employees hold employers accountable for wage and hour violations and receive the back pay and other compensation they deserve. Please call our office today at 800-796-0849 to find out how we can help you.