FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2014
Sharon Vinick 510-318-7700
Patricia Pierce 215-735-1600
NEW YORK JETS SUED FOR WAGE THEFT
BY MEMBER OF THE FLIGHT CREW
Another NFL team is facing a class action lawsuit for wage theft brought by one of its cheerleaders. A lawsuit was filed today by Krystal C in New Jersey state court against the New York Jets on behalf of their cheerleaders. The complaint [Krystal C v New York Jets LLC] seeks monetary damages on behalf of all of the “Flight Crew,” as the Jet’s cheerleading team is called. The case is the fourth lawsuit challenging the decades-old NFL wide practice of underpaying cheerleaders, in clear violation of law.
“The claims against the Jets are essentially the same as those brought against the Raiders, the Bengals and the Buffalo Bills,” said Patricia Pierce of Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores, one of the law firms representing the cheerleaders. “The failure to pay the women who work as cheerleaders a legal wage for all of the hours that they work is clearly an NFL-wide problem that needs to change,” said Pierce.
According to the lawsuit filed today, the Jets hires the women who are selected to be on the Flight Crew as “employees,” but fails to pay them for all of the hours that they work. Instead, the Jets only pays these women $150 for each game in which they appear, and $100 for each special event at which they are required to appear. The women who work as members of the Flight Crew are not paid for time spent at the thrice weekly practices, nor are they paid for time spent at rehearsals or “Camp Days,” which are money-making cheerleading camps which are sponsored by the Jets.
Krystal C., the named plaintiff, said “I really enjoyed the Jets fans and performing as a member of the Jets Flight Crew. But it really astonished me that we were paid so little and were required to pay for our travel and required grooming when we cheerleaders are an integral part of game day and serve as role models for young girls. ”
Pierce added: “When you look at the actual hours worked versus what Krystal was paid, she only made $3.77 per hour. When you factor in the required hair, makeup and transportation expenses, the hourly rate goes below $1.50 an hour.”
The cheerleaders on the Flight Crew are also represented by Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams of Oakland, California, the law firm who filed the first of the cheerleader lawsuits on behalf of the Oakland Raiderettes. “It is time for the NFL and all its teams to recognize that they are not above the law. The cheerleaders provide an economic benefit to the teams and to pay them a living wage is not only legally required, but it is the right thing to do,“ said Sharon Vinick, of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams. “We just hope that the New York Jets will take the high road and won’t follow the lead of the Buffalo Bills who retaliated against the squad by cancelling cheerleading for the upcoming football season.”
Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores, LLC is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania law practicing in the areas of criminal, employment, civil and family law. The firm’s website is: www.gpeff.com.
Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP is an Oakland, California firm specializing representing employees. The firm’s website is: www.levyvinick.com.