By Mina Kim and Jeremy Raff
Update Feb. 4:
On Tuesday a second Raiderette, identified in the lawsuit as Sarah G., joined lead plaintiff Lacy T. in accusing the Oakland Raiders of failing to pay cheerleaders minimum wage and illegally withholding pay.
Raiderettes net $5 per hour, the suit claims. Raiderettes earn $125 per game. However, the plaintiffs say they are not paid for work at events like rehearsals, charity events and photo shoots.
Their contract “contains clearly illegal provisions,” says Leslie Levy, the attorney representing the women in the proposed class action suit, like paying Raiderettes in a lump sum of $1,250 nine months after signing. The team requires specific hairstyles and nail colors, but does not reimburse Raiderettes for those expenses.
The suit has drawn the attention of the federal government. Last week, Department of Labor officials began investigating the treatment of cheerleaders.
“This appears to be a pretty prevalent practice in the NFL,” says Levy. “We do think this will crack open the issue.”
The proposed class-action suit includes Raiderettes from the last four years. There is not a specific number yet, but if successful, each cheerleader might expect between $10,000 and $20,000 in back wages and penalties.
Bay City News January 22, 2014
A member of the Oakland Raiderettes cheerleading squad sued the football team in Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday, alleging that the club is in “flagrant violation” of an array of California wage and employment laws.
The Raiderette, identified in the lawsuit as Lacy T., claims the Oakland Raiders club doesn’t pay the cheerleaders for all the time they spend working, withholds pay until the end of the season, and forces them to pay some of their own business expenses.
The lawsuit seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of all present and former Raiderettes who cheered for the team since 2010.
Lacy T.’s lawyer, Sharon Vinick, said the cheerleaders are paid only $1,250 per season, which amounts to less than $5 per hour for the time they spend rehearsing, performing and making required appearances at charity events.
Lacy T. said in a statement, “I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams.”
Raiders spokesman Mike Taylor declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring the team to stop the allegedly illegal practices, an award of back pay for the cheerleaders and other financial penalties.
Here’s the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court: