If you have been following our blog, you may be aware that last year the Oakland Raiders settled a wage and overtime theft lawsuit brought forward by cheerleaders who said that they were forced to do activities off the clock.
The class action lawsuit was settled for a reported $1.25 million by the team after the cheerleaders accused it of violating state labor laws, including minimum wage laws and refusing to reimburse them for business expenses.
Sadly, the cheerleaders claimed that they were only paid $125 per game, in a check that was delivered at the end of the season, as they were considered contracted employees. The lawsuit shed light on what many advocates called pitiful wages and conditions faced by the cheerleaders of many professional sports teams.
With this in mind, a California bill was filed in February that would require professional sports teams in the state to treat their cheerleaders as employees. According to the Washington Post, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D), a former collegiate cheerleader, brought AB 202 forward.
“NFL teams and their billionaire owners have used professional cheerleaders as part of the game day experience for decades,” Gonzalez said, according to the Post. “They have capitalized on their talents without providing even the most basic workplace protections like minimum wage.”
The bill requires that overtime compensation be provided to cheerleaders and that they have fair standards for work conditions. According to the Post, it would define cheerleaders as individuals who perform acrobatics, dances or gymnastic exercises to promote a professional sports franchise.
Working with an Attorney on a Wage Claim
As this case shows, class action lawsuits are effective in making sure that employers pay employees properly and not below minimum wage guidelines. Additionally, these cases can generate national attention, as only a few plaintiffs can file a suit on behalf of a large group of individuals.
If you are experiencing issues with your wages, it may be wise to speak to an employment attorney. Wage cases can be complex, as they often require a tremendous amount of investigation. An employment law firm can use its resources to find evidence supporting your claims, and could potentially help you seek damages, in addition to back wages.
Remember, California’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour, although some municipalities have statutes in place demanding a higher rate. Make sure you obtain all of the money you are entitled to from your employer.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys