The Oakland Raiders football franchise and the cheerleaders have settled the first class action lawsuit in the NFL for wage violations for $1.25 million settlement. (A copy of the Joint Press Release is available for review.) To become final, the settlement will require court approval. The parties have filed a joint Motion for Preliminary Approval, which will be heard on September 26, 2014.
The class action suit, brought by Lacy T. and Sarah G., two Raiderettes whose identities are protected in keeping with Raiders policy, set off a cascade of similar lawsuits around the NFL by football dance squads who claim that they are underpaid for their labor.
According to Sarah G., one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, “We are excited that the Raiders have decided to pay their current cheerleaders in accordance with the law. This was our goal and I am pleased to say I was a part of an organization whose management decided to make these changes. Now we can just go back to dancing, being respected and taking down the Niners when they try to step onto our field!”
Lacy T., the first of the NFL cheerleaders to speak out publicly against the wage and hour violations, said “I never dreamed that my decision to find a lawyer and file a lawsuit would lead to the kind of sweeping changes we are now seeing for the women of the NFL. It’s pretty breathtaking. But as a mom, it makes me proud to know I’ve stood up for myself, other women, and my daughter.”
The Oakland class action claimed that the Raiders had failed to pay their cheerleading squad, The Raiderettes, in accordance with the requirements of state law. The lawsuit covered those who worked as Raiderettes from January 22, 2010 through the 2013-2014 season.
The settlement proposal, which awaits Court approval, would pay an average of $6,000 to each Raiderette for each season she worked between 2010 and 2012. For those who work in the 2013-2014 season, the recovery would be approximately $2,500. A smaller portion of the settlement is allocated to the 2013 season because the Raiders paid minimum wage in 2013 before the lawsuit was filed. Under the settlement, the dancers will be compensated for all the hours they worked for which they had not already been paid, including practices and appearances. They will also receive money for unreimbursed expenses, interest on the past wages, and penalties under the California Labor Code.
A hearing on the request for preliminary approval of the settlement will take place in Alameda County Superior Court on September 26, 2014. Once the settlement is approved by the court, official notification to past Raiderettes covered by the lawsuit will be sent within the 60-90 days. The settlement does not require any action on the part of current and former Raiderettes covered by the lawsuit in order for them to be entitled to their portion of the settlement.