The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees be paid for all of the hours that they work. For performers, such as singers, dancers, and athletes, this includes any rehearsal or practice time in which they are required to participate. According to a recent lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders, their cheerleaders are required to participate in “all of the Raiders’ preseason, regular season, and postseason home football games, … all practices, rehearsals, fittings, preparations, drills, photo sessions, meetings and workouts as determined and directed by the Raiders.” Despite all of the time that the cheerleaders were required to put in, the lawsuit alleges that they were paid a flat rate of $125 per game, which amounted to $1,250 per season. According to the lawsuit, this meant that the cheerleaders were only paid $5 per hour: less than the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25.
The class action wage and hour lawsuit was filed by Lacy T., a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders, also known as a Raiderette. In addition to alleging that the Oakland Raiders pay their cheerleaders less than the minimum wage, Lacy also alleges that they do not pay their cheerleaders at all until the end of the season. At that time, they usually allegedly fine each cheerleader for a day’s pay.
While employers are allowed to make certain deductions from an employee’s paycheck, the law is very specific about the types of deductions that employers can make, such as state and federal taxes. According to the wage and hour lawsuit’s claims, the Oakland Raiders made a number of illegal fines and deductions from the cheerleaders’ paychecks. These included alleged fines for minor infractions, such as wearing the wrong workout clothes to rehearsals, failing to bring a yoga mat to practice, losing pom-poms, not turning in biographies on time, or for gaining as little as five pounds or looking “too soft”.
The lawsuit further alleges that “If a Raiderette forgets all or part of the official uniform for a game day event, she will be fined and/or benched from the game.” According to the complaint, a “benched” cheerleader does not get paid for that game.
Lacy also alleges that the Raiderettes were required to spend as much as $650 per season in expenses for which they were not reimbursed. For many of the cheerleaders, this amounted to about half of their paycheck for the entire season. The Oakland Raiders did not reimburse its cheerleaders for travel expenses. The Raiderettes were also allegedly “required to use a hair stylist selected by the Raiders,” but the Raiders did not pay for the hair stylist. Instead, the cheerleaders had to pay that expense themselves, which could reach hundreds of dollars, according to the complaint. The cheerleaders were provided with five free products by their cosmetics sponsor at the beginning of the season, but if they ran out, they were allegedly required to use their own money to buy more.
The class action lawsuit is seeking damages for failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay wages in a timely manner, unlawful deduction of wages, failure to pay overtime, failure to reimburse expenses, and other claims. Lacy is also seeking the costs of bringing the lawsuit and an injunction against the Oakland Raiders to prevent them from continuing their illegal employment practices.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for misclassifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Joliet, Evanston and Waukegan. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Rockford and Schamuburg overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.