Oakland Raiders cheerleaders earn less than $5 an hour, are required to pony up travel expenses, and are subject to fines for gaining weight, according to a lawsuit filed this week against the team.
In court documents filed Wednesday, a cheerleader identified as Lacy T. accused the Raiders of paying the 40-member Raiderettes team less than minimum wage, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
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"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," Lacy T. said in a statement released by her lawyer. "I hope cheerleaders across the NFL will step forward to join me in demanding respect and fair compensation."
According to Lacy T., the cheerleaders' contracts mandate $125 per game, or $1,250 per season, which includes the countless hours spent rehearsing, performing at 10 charity events, and participating in the team's annual swimsuit calendar photo shoot.
The women are expected to front the cost of additional items like tights, fake eyelashes, and yoga mats for practices, as well as pony up hundreds of dollars for a team-selected hairstyle, the suit claims. Members of the Raiderettes must also pay all travel expenses.
Throughout the season, the women are subject to "fines" of $10 for petty things like failing to bring the right pom-poms to practice or for appearing "too soft" to the team's director. If a cheerleader gains as little as 5 pounds, she may be asked to sit the bench for the next game, forfeiting her $125 pay, the suit alleges.
"I've been dancing for 16 years, and I was paid more for dancing in college than I am as a pro cheerleader," Lacy T. told the Chronicle. "I'm a stay-at-home mom, and every dollar out of my pocket is noticed."
What's more, the cheerleaders don't get paid until the end of the season, which violates the state law requiring pay at least twice a month.
The suit was filed as a proposed class action case that would include the current Raiderettes roster and all members of the squad from the past four years.
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