Former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders sue team in pay dispute
Give me a two! Give me a four! Give me an eight! Now add some zeroes at the end and a dollar sign in front! That’s the cheer that five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders may be using in New York State Supreme Court after they sued the team on Tuesday because they say they were underpaid.
The suit alleges that the cheerleaders, the Buffalo Jills, are wrongly classified as independent contractors and are subjected to policies that violate the state’s $8 per hour minimum wage law. The five women said they worked hundreds of hours for free at games and at mandatory public appearances at which they were subjected to groping and sexual comments.
The former cheerleaders also allege that they aren’t paid for practices and have to make 20-35 appearances, most of which are unpaid, at community and charity events each season, the lawsuit said. On top of that, they have to pay $650 for their uniforms and are not reimbursed for travel or other expenses.
The lawsuit is the third filed this year by NFL cheerleaders, joining suits by former cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.
The civil action, which seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees, names Stejon Productions Corp., which assumed management of the Jills in 2011, along with former manager Citadel Communications Co. and the Buffalo Bills.
The cheerleaders are identified only by their first names and last initials in the lawsuit.
Alyssa U. estimated she was paid a total of $420 during the 2012-13 football season. Another cheerleader, Maria P., said she received $105.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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