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Raiderettes suit hinges upon California wage and labor laws

The Oakland Raiders cheerleading squad as brought a lawsuit against the professional football organization concerning a wage dispute. Even though the U.S. Labor Department has stated that the Oakland Raiders were exempt from federal wage laws due to the team being a "seasonal" operation, the cheerleaders are still pursuing this lawsuit under California regulations.

The Raiderettes, as the cheerleading squad is known as, were apparently paid $125 for each preseason and regular season home game. However, the job duties of the Raiderettes apparently also comprised of performing at rehearsals, charity events and participation in an annual photo session. Though California minimum wage is at $8 per hour, the Raiderettes claim that they were paid less than $5 per hour taking into account all of their job duties.


Exemptions concerning occupations related to "seasonal amusement or recreational establishments" are governed differently under federal law than is the case in California.  While such establishments are exempted from federal minimum wage laws, California holds these establishments to the same minimum-wage and overtime pay requirements as any other employer.

Although the Raiderettes claim the Raiders are violating California labor laws, the football team would like to have this matter privately arbitrated in the presence of the National Football League Commissioner.

The Raiderettes have also raised additional claims concerning travel expenses and other costs.  The Raiderettes face fines for various conduct violations such as bringing the wrong pom-poms to rehearsals.  They also allege that pay is withheld until the end of the NFL season rather than on a bi-monthly basis.

Wage and hour disputes can become legally complex and so attorneys are often required for employee representation.  Employers will sometimes misidentify employees concerning the nature of an employee's job duties to save on paying additional wages.  Misidentified employees deserve to be properly compensated.

Source: San Francisco Gate, "Feds end Raiderette wage probe with no action," Bob Egelko, March 20, 2014

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