Last January, a Raiderette known only as Lacy T, filed a lawsuit against the Raiders, alleging wage theft. Within two weeks, another Raiderette came onboard the lawsuit - this time a co-captain. Thursday, attorney's for both sides announced a settlement of $1.25 million has been reached. This according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The original suit filed against the Raiders by Lacy T. and joined by the second Raiderette, Sarah G, claimed the team was in "flagrant violation" of wage laws in how they paid the famous cheer squad. Sarah G had been on the squad for four years and added a lot of weight to the case.
The suit took issue with not only the wages, which worked out to less than $5 an hour, but also spoke of fines and out of pocket expenses which would have the squad actually losing money when all was said and done.
Lacy T. had spoken of non-reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses. Sarah G. claims she has spent upwards of $4500 of her own money on Raiderette related expenses -- many of which are mandatory per their contract.
Raiderettes are paid $1250 (before fines) for ten games which amounts to $125 per game. In addition they must attend 10 unpaid events per year as well as three rehearsals per week. The suit claims this is in violation of labor laws because it works out to less than minimum wage. In addition, if the figure Sarah G. gave as to what she spent is accurate, along with her fines, she basically made no money at all over four years with the squad.
Court attorney Sharon 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. They got that and more.
Here are the details of the settlement:
No more $125 per game. They will now receive $9 an hour plus overtime per California State law. That works out to about $3200 per year.
Paychecks will be handed out every two weeks instead of the year-end stipend they received before.
All business expenses and mileage will be reimbursed.
No more wage penalties for minor infractions such as showing up a few minutes late to rehearsal, bringing the wrong pom poms to practice.
They will be allowed 10-minute breaks during games.
The second part of the settlement involves back pay. Each cheerleader who cheered for the squad during any of the seasons from 2010 to 2013 will receive $6,400 per season. Cheerleaders who have been with the squad since January will also receive $2,500.
Lacy T and Sarah G, who filed the lawsuit, were each awarded $10,000.
A third of the settlement will go to the attorneys for the Lacy T and Sarah G.
"I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing this long journey is over and will end happily for 90 women," said Lacy T. "I feel very proud about that. I know we're just cheerleaders to people, but we're low-wage workers working for a billion-dollar industry. It shows everyone that one little girl who stood up and said, ‘This is not right,' changed the way the Raiders do business."
Make no mistake, this is not just a Raiders or Raiderettes issue. Several other cheer squads across the NFL followed suit (so to speak) and filed their own claims against their respective teams for wage violations. This was the first of many suits filed and the first to reach a settlement. And they got it done just prior to their first game of this season.
The other teams include the Bengals, Buccaneers, Bills, and Jets. As these things go, precedence is everything. I would expect this will go a long way to solving the issue league-wide and giving these hard working women the compensation they deserve.