Raiders settle employment claim with cheerleaders for $1.25 million

September 5, 2014 by

FootballEarlier on this blog, we wrote about a class action the Oakland Cheerleaders had brought against their employer, the Oakland Raiders, to recover overtime.

Now, the two former Raiderettes cheerleaders have agreed to a $1.25-million settlement from the team. The deal was announced by attorneys for both sides, and is subject to court approval.

In January, the two former cheerleaders alleged that the Raiders broke a number of state labor laws, including failing to pay minimum wage, withholding wages for months and refusing to reimburse cheerleaders for their business expenses.  Today’s settlement is the Raiderettes second major victory.  In July the Raiders offered their new cheerleading squad a contract that nearly tripled their pay.  Instead of earning only $125 per game in a single paycheck delivered at the end of the season, Raiderettes will earn $9 an hour from now on, plus overtime, for the estimated 350 hours each cheerleader puts in each year, including rehearsals, practices and mandatory community and charity appearances. Their annual compensation will rise from about $1,250 to about $3,200.

From now on, Raiderettes will also be reimbursed for business expenses and mileage, which they had to cover themselves before. They will also receive paychecks every two weeks, per state law, rather than one lump sum at season’s end.  And the team will no longer illegally deduct wages for minor rules infractions like showing up a few minute late to rehearsals, wearing the wrong color nail polish or failing to bring the correct pom poms to practice. Cheerleaders will also be entitled to a 10-minute break during games.

As for the second victory, that came after a day of mediation last month in San Francisco.  Attorneys for the Raiderettes and the team agreed to a complex settlement formula that will cover any cheerleader who has worked for the team since the 2010-11 season. Cheerleaders will receive $2,500 in back pay and penalties for the 2013-14 season, plus $6,000 in back pay and penalties for each of the three seasons before that.

About 90 women will receive checks. Lacy T., the original plaintiff, and Sarah G., who joined the case a short time later, will receive an additional $10,000 for bringing the lawsuit. To protect themselves from overzealous fans, cheerleaders traditionally do not use their last names, and the court has not required them to do so.

It’s unclear what effect the Raiders settlement will have on other wage-theft lawsuits by NFL cheerleaders.  Similar cases are pending against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets.

Steve Larson
An experienced trial lawyer who handles both hourly and contingent fee cases, Steve has expertise in class actions, consumer cases, antitrust litigation, securities litigation, corporate disputes, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition claims, employment matters, and disputes involving family wealth. Steve regularly represents individuals and businesses in federal and state court and has obtained class-wide recovery in multiple class actions. A veteran practitioner, Steve's clients value his creative approach to resolving complex litigation matters.

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