Decades ago, my wife and I were on the cheerleading squad together for
the university we attended. It is great fun, a wonderful experience, and
kept me in shape. We received a small scholarship, that probably equaled
about $1.00 per hour after you factored in all the prep time and so forth
which went into the commitment. We never imagined suing over unfair compensation.
It wasn't about the money. However, that is what former and current
Raider cheerleaders are doing. They are suing because they claim that
they aren't being paid enough. They claim theft of wages and unfair
employment practices within the lawsuit. These Raiderettes claim that
the team withheld all pay until the end of the season, doesn't pay
for all hours worked, and refuses to pay for many business expenses. Yep,
that sounds familiar. However, this is exactly what they contracted for.
If they want more, hold out for more money and don't sign the contract.
Apparently, the cheerleaders are each paid only $1,250 for the season.
Well, yeah. That's not much money at all. But surely they aren't
doing it for the money. They claim that they end up only making $5 per
hour. That is less than the minimum wage requirement in America. It will
be interesting to see how the attorneys spin this. For example, I am already
thinking of the defenses such as, that servers get paid less than minimum
wage. This is allowed due to the tips they make. In the same way, the
cheerleaders likely get other side benefits such as royalties, paid speaking
engagements, calendar proceeds, and etc as a result of being a Raiderette.
Furthermore, is it really a job, or a hobby? If they fall under employment
restrictions, what about a fan who gets to be an honorary bat boy or something.
Can they now sue as well? The lawyer or the cheerleaders said, "It's
as if the Raiders' owners believe that the laws that protect all workers
in California just don't apply to them." Perhaps they don't
think it applies in this situation. Perhaps they have a valid reason.
If the cheerleaders win this, watch out for future lawsuits. It's been
20 years since I was a yell leader. Has the statute of limitations run?
Geez. As an Olathe, Kansas attorney, I think I'll stick with legitimate lawsuits.