New York Jets cheerleaders filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL team alleging violations of New Jersey wage and hour laws. The suit was ostensibly filed in New Jersey since that is where MetLife Stadium is located, where team plays its home games. The named plaintiff in the suit, named Krystal C, claims that the Jets paid her and other cheerleaders far below New Jersey’s required minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.
Specifically, she claims that the $150 per game and $100 per appearance equates to only $3.77 per hour. Also, the cheerleaders were made to be responsible for their own out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel, clothing and makeup, and hair care expenses. With these costs factored in, the cheerleaders only earned $1.50 per hour. The complaint further states that cheerleaders are expected to work frequently off the clock, and attend charity events and rehearsals without pay.
Under California law, employers are requires to pay employees a minimum hourly wage, and they must provide specific breaks and time off to have meals. Failing to do so may leave the employer liable; which means that an affected employee can seek compensation for back wages and additional damages.
The Jets are the fourth NFL team to be sued for illegally underpaying cheerleaders. The Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders also face similar lawsuits. Nevertheless, the story may be particularly helpful for those who are generally compensated through tips and may believe that they are not compensated in accord with California law.
Source: Courthousenews.com “NY Jets cheerleader files wage class action,” Chris Fry, May 12, 2014