Not being paid for practices, forced to pay for their own work-related expenses and being cheated out of regular wages? Those were the allegations put forth in a class-action lawsuit by members of the 2012 and 2013 New York Jets cheerleading squads.
On Wednesday it was revealed the cheerleaders and the team came to a settlement worth $324,000, letting the members of the 2012 and 2013 squads get paid for their time, effort and work-related expenses.
The settlement also allowed the Jets to pay the money without admitting any wrongdoing.
According to the report, the members of the Jets cheerleaders were paid $150 and given their uniforms for free, but those were the only forms of payment. They weren’t compensated for travel to and from events or games, nor for makeup or other tools of the trade.
One example comes from the leader of the class-action lawsuit, a lady simply named “Krystal C” in that suit — a move to protect from potential blowback.
The Jets required members of “The Flight Crew,” as the team’s cheerleaders are known, to all have straight hair. Krystal has curly hair and was required to use products to straighten it, but all of that had to come out of her own pocket, per the lawsuit.
In the end, the ladies claim they were making less than minimum wage for their time, effort and required tools of the trade.
Rather than drag this to trial, the Jets agreed to settle the suit, and each member will receive between $2,559 to $5,913, depending on their length of service with the team. Those that were around for just one of the two years involved in the suit will get the lower amount and those around for both will receiver the higher amount.
The Jets referred to a statement they put out in August regarding this lawsuit.
“The Jets deny the claims and the parties have agreed to a settlement to avoid the expense, time and distraction of litigation,” the statement read, per the NorthJersey.com report.
With the Jets settling, it has become something of a trend for NFL teams, as the Oakland Raiders settled a similar lawsuit for $1.25 million in 2014 and other lawsuits have been brought by cheerleaders for the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills.
Helping to avoid this issue in the future, New Jersey legislators are looking at drafting a bill to extend employment protections to NFL cheerleaders. The report also indicates a similar efforts are under way in New York and California as well.
Should that legislation pass, NFL cheerleaders would be afforded minimum wage and other employment protections like any other employee in the state.