A $1.25 million settlement was distributed to 90 former Oakland Raiders cheerleaders this week as part of a class-action suit for fair pay.
The cheerleaders alleged that they were paid less than minimum wage, along with being denied overtime pay and not being reimbursed for necessary business expenses. When the suit was filed in January 2014, it was the first of its type, but cheerleaders for the Bengals, Jets, Buccaneers and Bills have since taken similar legal action.
The settlement was originally reached in September 2014, but the legal battle only recently came to a full stop—thereby allowing the cheerleaders to receive the money this week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. One of the cheerleaders’ attorneys told the Chronicle that while the settlement was a small victory, getting paid only minimum wage years after the fact shouldn’t be considered nearly enough:
“Our clients have now been paid the equivalent of minimum wage for all of the hours they worked and have been reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses,” attorney Sharon Vinick said in a statement. “It is important to note that paying these women minimum wage doesn’t represent the value that these hard-working women bring to the Game Day Experience.”
The suit noted that the women were paid just $125 per game, with a strict system of fines that meant pay deductions for infractions ranging from wearing the wrong shade of nail polish to bringing incorrect pom-poms to practice. Each game meant a nine-hour workday with no designated lunch or rest break, and the cheerleaders were not paid at all until the end of the season.
As a result of the suit, Raiderettes will now receive $9 an hour plus overtime—increasing their individual yearly income from $1,250 to an estimated $3,200 for their part in a billion-dollar industry that regularly uses them for marketing and publishes photo galleries of what the league deems the “best” cheerleaders and promises that, really, it respects women.