According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ben-Gals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman, 24, says that she was paid an average of $2.85 per hour — well below the Ohio minimum wage of $7.85 — for her 10 games of cheering this season, her first with the team, plus mandatory practices, charity events and required volunteer work that added up to more than 300 hours.
Her take-home pay was a flat rate of $90 per game, for each of the Bengals' 10 games this season.
But that's not all. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, contends that the cheerleaders were subjected to sartorial and conditioning requirements that seem a bit ... extreme.
Ben-Gals are weighed twice a week and must stay within 3 pounds of their “goal weight” or face discipline, including mandatory “extra conditioning” after practices, being “benched for weight violations,” probation, and ultimately dismissal from the team.
And, per the New York Daily News, Brenneman presented a six-page document titled "Cincinnati Ben-Gal Rules," which detailed the strict appearance code for the 24-member cheerleading team.
No panties are to be worn under practice clothes or uniform, not even thong panties. Wear pantyhose to match skin tone (L'eggs). No Danskins/Dance type tights. No control top at practices or games. No exposed skin at ankles — pantyhose must extend down into socks.
No slouching breasts. Support as needed. Black or nude seamless bra mandatory for games. (No lace)
This is reminiscent of the Oakland Raiders' cheerleader lawsuit (minus the panty and breast stuff, specifically) filed by a member of their cheer squad last month, attesting that their pay was substandard.
The Ben-Gals' case is interesting because of the extremely low pay Brennaman is claiming, along with the uniform and weight requirements. We'll see if this lawsuit has legs.
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- Cincinnati Enquirer