Are California cheerleaders denied minimum wage?

July 1, 2015

800px-Pro_Bowl_2006_cheerleadersA bill awaiting California Governor Jerry Brown’s signature would require professional sports teams based in the state to pay cheerleaders at least minimum wage, as well as overtime and sick leave. [ABC News]

Cheerleaders have filed lawsuits against several NFL teams, including the Oakland Raiders, alleging the football franchises do not consider them employees and pay them what amounts to less than minimum wage. The California bill attempting to reverse that trend passed the state Senate on Monday.

A similar bill was introduced in the New York legislature this year, but no comparable law exists in the county. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced the bill in the California Legislature.

“Everyone who works hard to provide a great game-day experience deserves the same basic level of dignity and respect on the job, starting with simply being paid for their work,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

Attorney Sharon Vinick reached a $1.25 million settlement with the Raiders last year over a lawsuit she filed on behalf of dozens of Raiderettes who worked for the team from 2010 to 2013. Vinick said the Raiders paid cheerleaders $125 per home game, or $1,250 per season.

The contract included hours of unpaid rehearsals and charity and commercial appearances. That translated to less than $5 an hour, she said.

The Raiders classified the cheerleaders as independent contractors and argued that the cheerleaders were receiving exposure that could open up opportunities in modelling or other fields. The Raiders stated in court documents that NFL arbitration should handle the lawsuit.



  1. topper01 says:

    This is the duties of the job. This is what you will be compensated for doing said job. If you are not willing to perform the duties described for the pay offered, then please do not apply.

    There, that was easy!

    Have you ever looked at the fans attending a college football game. Half of the audience is painted and or dressed in their teams colors simple to “cheer” them on. We need to address compensation for them also.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. r0y says:

    “Everyone who works hard to provide a great game-day experience deserves the same basic level of dignity and respect on the job, starting with simply being paid for their work,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

    Yes, yes… dignity and respect. EXACTLY what cheerleaders are there for.

    Nothing like the cheap marketing of sex while crying foul when dignity and respect are not also earned.

    (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
    • achillesheal says:

      Have any transgender wanna be cheerleaders sued for sexual discrimination yet?

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. indigo1955 says:

    Make certain they are vaccinated prior to getting a raise–and make sure there is no choice in this matter.

    (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
  4. SpeakTruth says:

    Here’s a novel idea. If your employer doesn’t pay you enough for the work you do, then don’t work there anymore.

    (9) 19 Total Votes - 14 up - 5 down
    • LameCommenter says:

      Abso – freakin’ – lutely, SpeakTruth. Right on target, ten – X ring dead center comment.

      (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  5. abigchocoholic says:

    Ca cheerleaders don’t come close to meeting the requirements of an independent contractor. They work under and at the direction of their teams. They work on team fields, during team hours, using team facilities and under team direction. A cheerleader can’t go it on her own, it’s impossible. It’s as employee as employees get. Compare this to an Uber cab driver that is 99% on their own–own car, own hours, own choice of what city etc. and yet they were found to be employees. .

    For the Raiders to say cheerleading opens up opportunities is irrelevant. That’s not one of the factors. Raiders are going to get slammed.

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
    • achillesheal says:

      The Raiders already settled for $1.25M. Several NFL teams already pay the cheerleaders as employees. It will be interesting to see if the cheerleading squads end up being eliminated for those who wish not to “employ” the cupcakes. Currently the Lions, Bears, Giants, Steelers, Browns and Packers don’t have cheerleaders. Expect that list to grow.

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  6. achillesheal says:

    So glad the legislature is focused on this critical situation rather than trivial issues such as budget deficits, bloated pensions, the future bankruptcy of CalPers, a broken tax and fiscal situation, and cities filing for bankruptcy.

    (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
  7. tomsquawk says:

    cheaps screws and i’m not talking about the girls

    (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
    • laftch says:

      You’re so right. They are not cheap screws.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down

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