Back in February, I wrote about two separate minimum wage lawsuits brought by NFL cheerleaders against their respective teams, one against the Oakland Raiders and one against the Cincinnati Bengals. This week, the parties in the Raiders lawsuit announced they have reached a tentative $1.25 million settlement.
The Fair Labor Standards Act generally requires employers to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. It also requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime at time-and-a-half their hourly rate for every hour worked over forty per week. Ohio’s minimum wage and overtime law is essentially the same.
In January, two former cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders filed a class action lawsuit against the team for failing to pay its cheerleaders (known as the “Raiderettes”) minimum wage. The lawsuit also alleged the team unlawfully failed to reimburse the cheerleaders for business expenses and deducted from their salary for minor infractions like wearing the wrong color nail polish. In what might be considered a tacit admission of liability, during the course of the lawsuit, the Raiders raised the salary for the cheerleaders to $9.00 an hour, agreed to start reimbursing them for business expenses, and agreed to stop deducting from the cheerleaders’ wages for minor infractions.
This week, the parties to the Raiders lawsuit announced they had reached a settlement, which covers 90 cheerleaders who worked for the team from 2010 to 2013. The proposed settlement calls for each cheerleader to receive $6,000 for the 2010 through 2012 seasons, and $2,500 for the 2013 season. As is typical in minimum wage or overtime pay lawsuits, the settlement must first be approved by the Court.
Although the wage lawsuit against the Raiders appears to be coming to a close, the similar lawsuit against the Cincinnati Bengals remains pending. There are also similar wage and hour lawsuits pending against the Buffalo Bills, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New York Jets. As I noted in my prior blog post, the Cleveland Browns do not have cheerleaders. No word on what the Browns pay their new mascot, Swagger.
If you feel your employer has wrongfully failed to pay you minimum wage or overtime pay, contact an experienced Cleveland, Ohio employment lawyer today.