Remember when it was just unpaid interns who were pissed off enough to sue their employers? Cheerleaders are now hopping on the lawsuit bandwagon as well.
Oakland Raiders cheerleader Lacey T (apparently these girls go by their first name and initial to conceal their identities) is suing her team because she is being paid less than minimum wage. She is also pretty irked that she has to use her own money to buy tights and fake eyelashes. If I were the judge, I would like to know if the fake eyelashes are a required part of the uniform (seriously, are they or is she just trying to score some freebies?)
“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,” Lacey T said in a statement. “I hope cheerleaders across the NFL will step forward to join me in demanding respect and fair compensation.”
I fear poor Lacey T is going to end up blackballed because there are probably thousands of perky Raiders fans dying to take her place. Professional cheerleading is like pageantry in a way. You pay thousands of dollars to participate and essentially come home with nothing.
Like those unpaid internship debacles, one could argue that she knew what she was getting into, while the devil’s advocate will proclaim that she deserves at least minimum wage.
Practice makes perfect, but cheerleaders are not paid for it, Lacey T claims. There are no dollar bills associated with the 10 public appearances they are required to make either. They get a flat rate of $125 for each home game, which doesn’t seem too bad — until you do the math.
She and her fellow Raiderettes were paid just $1,250 a year, which amounted to less than $5 an hour. California’s minimum wage is set at $8 an hour.
You can’t even count on getting paid your flat rate if you look bloated or indulged in a bucket of wings the night before. According to America’s angriest cheerleader, these ladies are benched and forced to forfeit their pay if they gain five pounds or appear “too soft.” She should probably sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress while she is at it, because that sounds like it could be pretty psychologically damaging.
But what about those swimsuit photo shoots they are always doing? Nope, they apparently don’t get paid for those either. This job must be compensated with glory. Lacey T also alleges that bringing the wrong pom poms will get you fined, and that her team has to pay out of pocket for travel expenses because they don’t see a dime until the end of the season. No word on what the pom pom fine writer is getting paid.
Lacey T’s lawyer, Sharon Vinick, told The Telegraph:
“It’s as if the Raiders’ owners believe that the laws that protect all workers in California just don’t apply to them, I have never seen an employment contract with so many illegal provisions.”
Lacey T, did you read that contract before you signed it? Or were you too blinded by the glamour of it all? People who sue corporations typically have a tough time finding new jobs, but as a professional cheerleader named Lacey T, at least you’ll always have a spot reserved on The Bachelor.
I have no idea how this will actually play out, but it looks like even cheerleaders want to get paid for for their work.