California football team settles unfair wages lawsuit

Frank S. Clowney III

Attorneys for the Oakland football team, the Raiders, and its cheerleading squad, the Raiderettes, announced a proposed settlement to a lawsuit accusing the team of paying less than minimum wage. The parties will seek the judge’s preliminary approval on Sept. 26.

To settle the lawsuit, which was filed in the Alameda Superior Court in January, the Oakland Raiders agreed to pay $1.25 million. After legal and other fees, about $800,000 will be divided among the 90 women who worked from 2010 through 2013 as cheerleaders during any of the four NFL seasons. The settlement is compensation for unpaid expenses, minimum wages and interest on those unpaid amounts.

The lawsuit alleged that the Raiders violated state and federal labor laws by paying less than the minimum wage statutes required. The team also failed to reimburse travel, uniform and other expenses and reportedly withheld wages until the end of the season. California law mandates pay at minimum twice monthly, and current minimum wage is $9 per hour, which much higher than the Raiderettes’ estimated $5 per hour compensation. In 2013, the Raiders increased the cheerleaders’ salary, and the team’s policies were changed to comply with state law.

All employers are legally obligated to pay hourly employees at least the minimum wage and pay additional wages for overtime hours worked by non-salaried employees. Authorized time spent working, even if the work occurs off-site, may need to be compensated as well. If an employee believes his or her employer failed to follow wages and hours laws, then the worker should consider consulting with an attorney who might be able to help that person pursue compensation.

Source: San Francisco Gate, “Oakland Raiders settle cheerleader suit over pay issues“, Bob Egelko, September 05, 2014