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California NFL team paid cheerleading squad $5 per hour

On Sept. 4, lawyers representing the Oakland Raiders football team and their cheer-leading squad announced a proposed settlement in an unpaid wage dispute. If the settlement is approved in court on Sept. 26, the Oakland Raiders will owe $1.25 million to 90 women who worked as cheerleaders during four NFL seasons. The settlement money will cover unpaid wages, interest on those wages and legal fees.

According to the lawsuit filed by the Raiderettes in January, members of the cheer-leading squad were paid less than minimum wage and required to cover many of their work expenses. The women attended at least two rehearsals per week and participated in 10 charity events each season, and they were only paid $125 for each home game. When the $1,250 they were paid each season was divided by the number of hours they actually worked, the Raiderettes' hourly wage was approximately $5 per hour.

In addition to working for less than California minimum wage, the Raiderettes were subjected to fines for committing workplace errors, including forgetting to bring the correct pom-poms. The women's wages were also illegally withheld until the completion of the football season. A lawyer for the women has reported that the Oakland Raiders are now in compliance with state wage laws, and she hoped that other teams facing similar litigation would work toward compliance as well.

A performer or athlete who is employed by a company is entitled to certain wages from their employer. When workers are being asked to participate in work activities that they are not compensated for, the workers may have a good case for filing an unpaid wage lawsuit.

Source: San Francisco Gate, "Oakland Raiders settle cheerleader suit over pay issues", bob Egilko, September 05, 2014

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