Recently a Raiderette by the name of Lacy T. filed a lawsuit against the Raiders for what she viewed as wage violations, naturally the story blew up and hit the national media circuit where it was now infamously reported that they were making $5 an hour.
Now a second Raiderette has filed a similar suit against the Raiders, claiming the team is in “flagrant violation” of wage laws, according to a report by Lisa Fernandez of NBC Bay Area. This time the Raiderette is a co-captain which makes the newest report that much more interesting.
The newest plaintiff is Sarah G. who has worked as a Raiderette since 2010. She will also be represented by the same attorney in Sharon Vinick, who is appearing to be treating this as a high profile and potentially winnable case. Her 4 years as a Raiderette as well as her co-captain status adds to the case being made by Vinick who is trying to set a precedent for NFL cheerleaders with this lawsuit.
Among those complaints according to the report by Fernandez, are some fines Sarah G. incurred which were laid out in the original suit including being fined $10 for not turning in a written biography, and being docked pay for missing rehearsal.
Lacy T. had spoken of non-reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses which have now been confirmed by Sarah G. who claims she has spent upwards of $4500 of her own money on Raiderette expenses, many of which are mandatory per their contract.
Raiderettes are paid $1250 for the Raiders 10 home games (counting preseason) which amounts to $125 per game. In addition they must attend 10 unpaid events per year as well as three rehearsals/practice times per week. The lawsuit claims this is in violation of labor laws because it works out to less than minimum wage. What might make the difference for the Raiderettes is if the figure Sarah G. gave as to what she spent is accurate she basically made no money at all over four years with the squad. Which will definitely play into the claims that the Raiderettes are being mistreated, even if they signed a contract stipulating they would be making this salary.
Here are the details of the latest report by Fernandez:
US Department of Labor spokesman Jose Carnevali told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday there is an “open investigation” into the cheerleaders’ claims.
The amended complaint was filed Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court by attorney Sharon Vinick, who is now representing both women. Both cheerleaders are seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, compensation for all unpaid work and other damages.
Vinick said, by her estimates, the women who cheered for the Raiders last season could be entitled to somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 each in wages and penalties.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and the lawsuit boils down to if the Raiderettes are considered team employees or independent contractors. If it is the latter, the Oakland Raiders can continue to pay the cheerleaders as they wish. If they are considered full time employees the operating expense of running the Raiderettes, and other NFL cheer squads around the league will increase drastically. At the end of the day this appears to be a situation where the organization does not consider the Raiderettes as full time employees, if the judge rules differently the Raiderettes will likely win this case simply because of how poor of compensation they are allegedly receiving.