The offseason concerns of the Oakland Raiders won't be limited to their players and coaching staff, after members of their cheerleading squad filed a lawsuit against the team.
Bay Area News Group first reported that a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of current and former Raiderettes at the Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday.
The suit alleges the Oakland Raiders failed to compensate their cheerleaders for hours worked, overtime, business expenses and failed to provide meal or rest breaks.
The case was filed by the law offices of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP in Oakland, and they claim the Raiderettes are paid $1,250 for working an entire season, which amounts to less than $5.00 per hour. According to the court documents, the Raiderettes sign a contract agreeing to receive their compensation at the conclusion of the season with their wages subject to fines. |
[RELATED: The Raiderette Class Action Lawsuit Documents]
"This is one of the most egregious contracts that I have ever seen," attorney Sharon Vinick said. "It's filled with provisions that are illegal and it's hard to imagine that a lawyer reviewing this contract would permit them to present it to their cheerleaders to sign."
The lead plaintiff on the lawsuit, Lacy T. (last name withheld for safety reasons), joined the Raiders for the 2013 season after spending two years as a cheerleader for the Golden State Warriors.
"There was a big difference in the way I was treated in the NBA versus the NFL." Lacy T. said. "In the NBA, we were paid every two weeks. We were paid $10 an hour for all hours worked, if we practiced late, we got paid more. We were paid for photo shoots. And that just wasn't the case in the NFL."
Lacy is a stay-at-home mother and claims that she chose to file the lawsuit because the financial burden was too much to handle.
Vinick explains that since it is a class action lawsuit, any Raiderette from the previous four seasons can come forward to seek damages. Considering the fact the Raiders employ approximately 40 cheerleaders per season, this could become a much larger deal. If a judge rules in their favor, anyone on the cheerleading squad with Lacy could potentially be entitled to lost wages and penalties, and Raiderettes from the preceding three seasons would only be entitled to lost wages.
A spokesperson for the Raiders declined to comment when reached by CSNBayArea.com. The Raiders might not be alone. It's possible lawsuits like this could begin popping up across the league.
"We believe from the way the contract is written, and articles that we've seen, that this is a widespread practice throughout the NFL," Vinick said. "We would encourage women across the NFL to come forward and challenge these provisions."
Many cheerleaders are full-time students or maintain side jobs with flexible schedules that allow them to attend team functions and games. At this time, Lacy is the only Raiderette that is involved in the lawsuit, but more could potentially come forward.