Oakland Raiders settle with cheerleaders over pay concerns

Oakland Raiders cheerleaders have settled with the team over back pay. (Getty)
Oakland Raiders cheerleaders have settled with the team over back pay. (Getty)

The Oakland Raiders have distributed proceeds from a $1.25 million settlement to nearly 100 women who have worked as cheerleaders for the team. The settlement arose from a class-action challenge over working conditions and pay filed by two former cheerleaders.

The suit alleged that from 2010-14, the Raiders failed to pay minimum wage, failed to pay overtime, and failed to reimburse cheerleaders for incurred expenses. Women who performed as Raiderettes for more than one season will receive more than $20,000 from the settlement. The team has since reworked its pay structure.

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“Our clients have now been paid the equivalent of minimum wage for all of the hours they worked and have been reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses,” attorneys for the cheerleaders said in a statement. “It is important to note that paying these women minimum wage doesn’t represent the value that these hard-working women bring to the Game Day Experience.”

“I never dreamed that my decision to find a lawyer and file a lawsuit would lead to the kind of sweeping changes we have seen for the women of the NFL,” plaintiff Lacy T., whose full name was redacted, said in a statement. “It’s pretty breathtaking. But as a mom, it makes me proud to know I’ve stood up for myself, other women, and my daughters.”

The lawsuit was one of a few legal actions, both individual and class-action, aimed at the cheerleader pay structure of the NFL and its member teams. The fundamental aim of all the suits is similar: fair pay, beyond just “glamour” and “exposure,” for the work that cheerleaders do both on Sundays and during the week.

Another class-action lawsuit charged that cheerleaders are paid about only $100 to $125 per game, obviously far less than the players and far less than the mascots, who allegedly can earn up to $60,000 per year with benefits.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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