The Oakland Raiders cheerleaders sued the team and the NFL on June 4 for poor working conditions while receiving less than the minimum wage.
Two Oakland Raiders cheerleaders sued the team on June 4.
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NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez reports the cheerleaders claim in their lawsuit that they received less than the minimum wage while working in less-than-desirable conditions:
"Two more Oakland Raiderette cheerleaders filed a class action lawsuit on Wednesday, claiming that they are not paid according to state law and work in 'deplorable' conditions, and sometimes have to change in public bathrooms with no privacy.
"Aside from wages, though, this suit alleges humiliating behavior, such as being chastised when the cheerleaders don't look right. Raiderettes who were deemed 'too tan' were called 'oompa loompas,' the orange creatures from 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,' according to the suit. Raiderettes who were not tan enough, the suit alleges, were ordered to go tanning stations.
"This second suit, filed in Alameda County by plaintiffs Caitlin Y. and Jenny C., is separate from two suits filed by two other Raiderettes back in December and January making similar allegations. It also follows the heels of other suits by Bengals, Bills, Jets and Buccaneers cheerleaders.
"Among other complaints, Caitlin Y. alleges that she was specifically targeted because her breasts were 'too large,' according to the suit.
Fernandez points out the two Raiderettes are also suing the NFL.
"But the main difference in Wednesday's lawsuit, filed by the San Francisco firm, Bradshaw & Associates, is that these cheerleaders are taking on not only the Oakland football team, but the National Football League, too.
"With the suits 15 causes of action, the cheerleaders accuse the defendants of breach of labor code and contract, as well as of failing to provide changing facilities, wage statements and meal breaks. The suit asks for back wages and injunctive relief to make the behavior stop.
"'Football in America is our most favorite sport,' attorney Drexel Bradshaw said in an interview. 'These performers are treated unfairly and illegally in violation of the California Labor Code. And this is an NFL problem nationwide.'
"The Raiders' attorneys, David Reis and Adam Kretz, and the NFL spokesman did not return requests for comment on Wednesday."
Fernandez then goes into greater detail regarding the low wages and poor working conditions the Radierettes mentioned in their lawsuit.
"Many of the claims in Wednesday's lawsuit reiterate the allegations the first two Raiderettes made in December and January when they sued the team: That they are paid about $125 a game, but end up making about $5 or so an hour with all the required extra promotional activities they are required to attend.
"Wednesday's lawsuit pointed out the disparity in revenue and pay between the league and the cheerleaders: 'Even though the Oakland Raiders' yearly revenue is as much as $229 million and NFL yearly revenue is about $10 billion, Raiderettes made, at most, less than $6.50 per hour on job duties,' the suit alleges.
"In addition to wages, Caitlin Y. and Jenny C. also describe some of their working conditions as 'deplorable.' Some of these conditions include:
"Being told their weight can't fluctuate more than five pounds each week. 'Each aspect of Raiderettes' bodies were inspected by defendants and their agents for any imperfection, no matter how sight. Raiderettes who did not meet arbitrary weight and fitness were 'benched' for the next game.
"Attend a 'two piece' practice each week, wearing nothing but sports bra and short shorts. '
"Being forced to change in public restrooms with little to no privacy after a tailgating party known as 'Raiderville.' During some of these events, the women were allegedly groped by inebriated men and exposed to derogatory comments with no security provided by the NFL or Oakland Raiders.
"At a golf tournament, Raiderettes forced to mingle with 'harrassing photographer' who 'constantly cajoled' the Raiderettes to 'pose in sexually suggestive poses that were inappropriate for a public (or private) working environment.
"At the end of each season during the four seasons covered by the suit, every Raiderette was terminated and required to re-audition for a position on the squad."
Almost five months earlier, the Raiderettes filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court, claiming the Raiders "engaged in wage theft and other unfair employment practices," per The San Jose Mercury News.
This lawsuit alleges the team withheld pay from the cheerleaders until the season ended, did not give financial compensation for all hours worked and forced the Raiderettes to pay for their own business expenses, per the same update.
According to The Los Angeles Times' Robin Abcarian, the Raiders fired back on March 18 by saying the Raiderettes rights to sue in court were nullified as soon as they signed their contracts.
"In the team's first official response to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday, Raiders' attorneys say that when the Raiderettes signed their contracts, they signed away their rights to sue in court.
"Like many lopsided contracts that favor employer rights over employee rights, the Raiders claim that the cheerleaders' contract requires arbitration. The Raiders have asked Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wayne Carvill to put the lawsuit on hold and force Lacy T. and Sarah G. to plead their case with the NFL commissioner."
It would be interesting to find out how the Raiders respond to Caitlyn Y.'s and Jenny C.'s lawsuit.
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