Jets Cheerleaders Win Class-Action Lawsuit

Photo: BPI/REX/Shutterstock.
A class-action lawsuit brought against the New York Jets by 52 of its former cheerleaders has been settled for $324,000. According to the settlement terms, the NFL team will admit no wrongdoing and avoid further litigation. While the final monetary amount may seem like a lot, that works out to about $2,500 per cheerleader, per season, according to CNN Money, with more compensation if they posed for calendars.

That amount is even more disappointing when you consider how woefully underpaid the Jets cheerleaders were to begin with. The suit, filed in 2014, claimed that women were paid only $150 a game, or what amounted to $3.77 an hour after you add up the time they spent at additional events and practices — well below minimum wage. The AP also reports that the cheerleaders were required to cover most of their expenses.

“When you factor in the required hair, makeup, and transportation expenses, the hourly rate goes below $1.50 an hour,” the cheerleader’s lawyer, Patricia Pierce, told CNN Money.

As Refinery29 reported back in 2014, this means that many cheerleaders must take on second jobs that will often have to be approved by the team management. It’s all part of the total control that many NFL teams exercise over their cheerleaders, including dictating weight, appearance, and social life — without adequate compensation.

While the settlement might fall short of real justice for the former cheerleaders, it may at least be a step in the right direction. Recently, the Buccaneers and Raiders also reached settlements with cheerleaders in response to similar suits. Suits against the Buffalo Bills and the Bengals are still pending.
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