Another cheerleading lawsuit has hit the NFL. This time, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals being accused of unpaid wages and other violations.
According to CBS, former cheerleader Alexa Brenneman allege the Bengals pay their cheerleaders significantly less than Ohio’s minimum wage. Almost five dollars less per hour.
The “Ben-Gals” are paid just $90 per game for ten games, according to the suit, and work almost 300 hours per season cheering, practicing and making public appearances. (Via U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio)
Brenneman’s attorney Todd Naylor says the performers should be fairly compensated. "They do it because they love it and I think we can have a fair debate in this country about what the minimum wage should be.” (Via USA Today)
In comparison, cheerleaders for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are paid an hourly wage and even earn overtime.
Naylor also said his client was directly inspired by a similar lawsuit filed against the Oakland Raiders in January. According to that suit, the Raiderettes were paid just over $1,200 a season, even more than the Ben-Gals. (Via ABC)
Deadspin reports, beyond unpaid wages, Brenneman also accused the team of restrictive rules, including “no slouching breasts” and “Absolutely no arguing or questioning the person in authority!!!”
Meanwhile, the Bengals have released little about the lawsuit. Dayton Daily News reports, “The lawsuit appears to be a copycat lawsuit … The Bengals will address the litigation in due course.” (Via Dayton Daily News)
If Brenneman's suit is certified, WCPO reports all performers since 2011 — which amounts to about 50 —would be allowed to join.