For the first time since a class action lawsuit over wage and overtime claims was filed, the Oakland Raiders have officially responded to the allegations.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the football organization said last week that when the Raiderettes cheerleaders signed their contracts, they signed away their rights to sue the team in court.
The paper reported that the Raiders have asked Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wayne Carvill to put the lawsuit on hold and force its plaintiffs, Lacy T. and Sarah G., to plead their case before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell through an alleged arbitration agreement.
“Both [plaintiffs] signed written employment agreements stating that ‘all disputes’ they have with the Oakland Raiders shall be subject to binding arbitration through the National Football League,” an attorney wrote on behalf of the team, according to the Times.
The Raiderettes, the attorney said, “are not entitled to seek redress in a court of law for any of their claims.”
The women claim in their lawsuit that they earn less than minimum wage and are paid at the end of the season instead of every two weeks as required by California law. They also said they earn $125 per game and are not paid for practices or meetings. They can also reportedly be fined for being late to practice, or for not having the right hair color or for failing to appropriately polish their nails.
Attorneys representing the cheerleaders said that the employment agreements they signed have several illegal provisions, and attempting to appoint the NFL commissioner to hear their case is one.
I Have Signed an Arbitration Agreement With My Employer
Forced arbitration agreements are an abomination. As the Times noted, an “extremely high percentage of [arbitration] decisions” favor the company over the worker.
However, just because you signed an arbitration agreement does not mean you cannot speak to an employment attorney about issues involving things like wrongful termination, discrimination at work, and/or wage and overtime claims. There are federal and state employment laws that exist, which cannot be circumvented by an employer through forced arbitration.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys