NFL teams tend to treat their cheerleaders not so much as valued employees, but rather as rock-dumb sex objects. Hits include the ridiculous list of petty fines Raiderettes could earn for, say, “improperly polishing their boots,” the Ravens’s exacting micromanagement over cheerleaders’s weight, and the Bills explaining how cheerleaders should change their tampons.
There have been several lawsuits against NFL teams brought on by former cheerleaders another one recently settled. Bengals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman filed a class-action suit in 2014 against the team for violation of federal employment laws. This week, the team settled with the plaintiffs for $255,000 of back pay, to help make up for the hours cheerleaders worked for the equivalent of $2.85 an hour (Bengals owner Mike Brown is worth $924 million).
The suit alleged that Ben-Gals were only paid $90 per game, and that the paid appearance scheme that theoretically helped fill in the gaps was useless and never delivered anyone significant money. This is now the third such settlement in the past 13 months, after Raiders and Bucs cheerleaders won a combined $2 million in very similar suits.
The Bengals continued to deny wrongdoing, saying in a memo that they had, “denied and continue to deny any liability or wrongdoing with respect to the alleged facts and causes of action asserted in the lawsuit.”
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