Cheerleaders’ Wage Theft Suit Proves Costly for the Oakland Raiders

Sep 16 2014 - Minimum Wage, Overtime - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Last January, two cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the team had committed a host of state labor law violations, including not paying minimum wage, not paying wages on time, making illegal deductions from wages and failing to reimburse for business expenses.

The result of the lawsuit:  a new contract for the cheerleaders and a $1.25 million settlement.

In past seasons, the Raiderettes earned $125 a game for 10 games and hardly any pay for the mandatory practices and public appearances, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new contract, negotiated this past July, pays the cheerleaders minimum wage for all hours worked, plus overtime, for the approximately  350 hours worked each season. The contract also provides for reimbursement of business expenses and mileage – which the cheerleaders previously paid themselves — and changes the time of payment to comply with state labor laws.

The $1.25 million settlement came just this month, following mediation. About 90 cheerleaders, who worked for the team since the 2010-2011, season will receive checks.

Other wage-theft lawsuits by NFL cheerleaders are in the works, including suits against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets. There is also a second lawsuit against the Raiders which includes the NFL as a defendant.

No matter what industry you are in, compliance with California’s often complex labor laws is a must. Wage-and-hour lawsuits continue to vex employers nationwide and combating wage theft is a top priority for the state Labor Commissioner.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

Turn to CalChamber for resources to help you stay up-to-date with the ever-changing rules. Not a member? Learn more about how HRCalifornia can help you.


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