Two cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders football team, identified as just Lacy T. and Sarah G. have initiated a class-action lawsuit against the team alleging ‘wage theft’, denying them compensation that they feel they are entitled to. They are not paid for practices or overtime or for other appearances like at charity events, which results in them getting paid at roughly $5 per hour, which is below the California minimum wage. Plus they only get paid at the end of the season so they have to pay their own expenses up front. As Lacy T. says, she was surprised by this since football teams make so much money.
I came from an NBA team — I danced with the Golden State Warriors for two seasons, and …they paid us more than the minimum wage. I got paid for every hour I worked, on two-week periods. I had zero out of pocket expenses.
So coming from that and joining the NFL, and with the Raiders, right off the bat I was spending money out of my pocket. Week after week I was traveling to these photo shoots and mini-camp. And it was the point when I said, “Wow, I’ve spent over $500 this month, and I’m not going to even see a paycheck until next year?”
Robin Abcarian provides some details from the handbook given to cheerleaders that explains why their take-home pay is so low
“If you miss a Saturday rehearsal or weekday rehearsal (as in the final rehearsal prior to a game day performance), you will not be allowed to cheer that game. This means you will be fined 1 1/2 absences for the missed rehearsal and $125 will be deducted from your end of season pay for not performing on that game day. You will be notified if you are required to perform the pre-game and/or halftime routine and then remain in the dressing room for the duration of the game…Since three lates equal one absence and missing any rehearsal before a game is 1 1/2 absences, you can find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season.”
It is clear from the interviews that these women gave that they love to dance and enjoy what they do and want to do it. But that is not a reason to take advantage of them and not pay them properly.