OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – As the Oakland Raiders lost 19-14 in Sunday night’s season opener, their cheerleaders were perhaps in better spirits after landing a $1.25 million settlement of wage and hour claims.
The Raiders and their cheerleaders, the Raiderettes, will seek approval of the settlement on Sept. 26 at a hearing in Alameda County.
Lacy T. and Sarah G. are the lead plaintiffs in the class action filed early this year in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging that the Raiders paid their cheerleaders less than $5 an hour, fined them for minor infractions, docked them pay for gaining weight, saddled them with unrecompensed expenses and did not pay them anything until season end.
The settlement fund announced Thursday will cover 90 women who worked as cheerleaders from 2010 to 2013 during NFL seasons. According to a joint press release, each cheerleader will receive more than $6,000 for each year worked from 2010 to 2012 and $2,500 for 2013 when the Raiders started paying minimum wage and overtime.
“We are thrilled with the outcome,” Vinick said. “The settlement gives the women full pay for every hour that they worked. It gives them reimbursements for a large portion of their expenses and awards them penalties under California state law.”
In her original lawsuit, Lacy T. said that “Raiderettes are required to attend all of the Raiders’ preseason, regular season and postseason home football games. They are also required to attend and participate in all practices, rehearsals, fittings, preparations, drills, photo sessions, meetings and workouts, as determined and directed by the Raiders.”
Raiderettes also have to attend other special events to represent the Raiders, without pay, the complaint said.
For this, Raiderettes allegedly earned a flat rate of $125 per game, or $1,250 per season before the 2013 pay change.
The Raiders fined cheerleaders for wearing the wrong workout clothes to rehearsals, failing to bring a yoga mat to practice, losing pom-poms or not turning in biographies on time, the lawsuit stated.
If a Raiderette gained 5 pounds or looked “too soft,” she could allegedly be benched and not allowed to perform.
A U.S. Department of Labor investigation launched in March determined that the Raiderettes are “seasonal” employees and not subject to federal minimum wage laws. The agency said the Oakland Raiders qualified for an exemption from federal minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.
The exemption covered “seasonal amusement or recreational establishments,” which included “any such establishment that operates for no more than seven months a year,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “NFL teams play their first preseason game in August and their last regular-season game in December.”
Vinick said that the determination did not affect their case. “The decision didn’t prevent us from pursuing our case and that’s exactly what we did.”
The Oakland Raiders are represented by Kenneth Hausman of Arnold & Porter LLP.
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