Bengals cheerleader files class action alleging wage violations

At a time when the Raiders are lagging behind other teams on the field, they may have blazed a new trail for off-field legal pursuits.  Last month, some Raiderettes sued the team, alleging underpayment for their services.

Via, a Bengals cheerleader has now filed a class-action lawsuit against the team, alleging multiple wage violations.

The complaint, filed by Alexa Brenneman, claims that the cheerleaders receive at most $90 per game.  The Bengals cheerleaders allegedly aren’t paid for practice time, mandatory non-game appearances, and other activities.

She estimates that, based on the total time she spent working in 2013, her hourly rate of pay was $2.85, $5 less than the minimum wage in Ohio.

It’ll be interesting to see how many other teams take advantage of their in-house cheerleading squads, allegedly or otherwise.  And it’s amazing that NFL cheerleaders have tolerated being so poorly compensated, given the billions of dollars that the league generates.

60 responses to “Bengals cheerleader files class action alleging wage violations

  1. “Cheerleaders” have ZERO place in football. Theyre not leading any cheer. You can stare at them during a timeout, but all 140k+ eyes are on the game action when it matters. Nobody can hear them. Nobody cares theyre there. Get rid of them. Glad my team doesnt have any.

  2. I don’t know what other teams do, but being a Bills fan in Buffalo aren’t these girls basically volunteers, knowing they aren’t going to be compensated for their time ??
    The Bills cheerleaders, The Jills are essentially unpaid charity workers. They make appearances and do charitable events. Their “pay” is that they “work” for an NFL team. Anything they travel to such as Pro Bowls, Super Bowls etc is all done with money they raise. Sorry but cheerleading isn’t a job, these girls should be glad they get as close to the game as they do. Sorry she feels so “underpaid”, when I think it’s people would be thrilled to be a member of an NFL team for little or no money!

  3. The NFL should just pay the cheerleaders ½ the profits from peanut sales..thats enough for 8 weeks of work ..11 if their lucky

  4. She didn’t know this going in? And if she got 90 dollars a game for 10 games (8 regular season and 2 pre season) and working let’s say 6 total hours per game that works out to 15 bucks an hour which is double the min wage there.

  5. Right, because their base pay is the only compensation they get. I’m sure they get nothing for their calendars, public appearances, other photo shoots, etc. No way they make that little when he demand to become a cheerleader is through the roof. In fact, I work with a former Eagles cheerleader. I think I’ll ask her the score.

  6. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that the cheerleaders don’t get paid much? I guess there won’t be cheerleaders in the nfl anymore, not that anyone really watched them anyway.

  7. Don’t like it, quit. I am sure you knew the routine/rules BEFORE you even tried out for the squad.

  8. Generally, I’m not very litigious but that hourly rate is ridiculous. Send Alexa over to my place and I’ll find her something to do for $7.85 an hour (yard work and such).

  9. Man, with all the hatred towards cheerleaders here one would have to believe they’ve been turned down by one!

  10. This sounds a lot like the fast-food-worker strikes. Pro-team cheerleading is not a job you’re supposed to raise a family on. If you really needed a good-paying part-time job, there are plenty out there. This is supposed to be a gig for those who want to do this, not who need to do it.

  11. If you don’t like it, quit. No one forces you to be a cheerleader. Half of them aren’t even good looking! And really, isint that why they’re really there.

  12. @ravenswhat says:Feb 13, 2014 5:03 PM

    “That’s still more than Paul Brown wants to pay his players!”

    Paul Brown died in 1991.

  13. I’m surprised that some fat and ugly cheerleader wannabe hasn’t sued an NFL team yet charging discrimination over the fact that she wasn’t hired because she’s not good looking or thin enough.

  14. 11 minutes game action during 4 hour game. Cheerleaders probably get more total attention during game then both teams conbined.
    Cheerleading is as much of a job as playing football is… They should be compensated for thier time.
    As much as i dislike unions. This is why they are nessesary.

  15. To all you posters that say the NFL Cheerleaders should be volunteers (or charity workers?) for the team, worth a billion more or less and making more every year, are what’s wrong with this country.

  16. Pay da woman….

    Minimum wage at least.

    This is actually a pretty open and shut case. The notion that “there are 1,000s of women trying out” or “she should know the pay is crap” doesn’t excuse any employer from paying below minimum wage. This is no exception.

  17. “That’s still more than Paul Brown wants to pay his players!”

    Paul Brown died in 1991.

    Cut him some slack he is a Raven fan…slow learner ya know. At least the Bungal cheerleaders are pretty.

  18. Keep the cheerleaders and pay em more they deserve it. All the charity events they do. All the time they put in to being out their on the field on game day. Its just like the refs when I found out they were working another job during the week I was shocked the refs need to be full time so they dont suck anymore and pretty much decide football games! If the refs were preparing for the game they are about to ref all week and not sentencing people or slapping kids on the wrists I bet there would be much better results on gameday.

  19. I personally enjoy the cheerleaders. Their performances and aerial acrobats are amazing and they are part of the overall entertainment experience (as is the band and the halftime performances). I can’t comment on their compensation – I would hope that they know what they are in for when they freely choose to sign on the dotted line to become one. But maybe not.

    As for those who fixate their attention on their sideline antics instead of the game (I personally just notice them during breaks in play and between quarters) and find them a distraction – I suggest you take your hard earned money, in singles, to a different type of “entertainment venue” where you’ll get more “bang” for your buck (no pun intended).

  20. Did she not know what the pay was prior to taking the position?

    If someone takes a job and they do not like the pay for that position, that warrants filing a lawsuit?

  21. You agree to work for a salary, they can work you as much as they want. She knew what she was going to be paid before the season and agreed to work. She could have left at anytime during the season. This is nothing more than the cheerleader version of former players suing for concussions; knowing the outcome, proceeding to perform, then suing on the claim no one told them and they got screwed.

  22. Hopefully the judge hearing any of these cheerleader lawsuits is allowed to see her income as an indivdual to society. Basically, cheerleading is a part time job. These woman have other jobs and sources of income. Don’t forget these woman are typically beautiful and I have no doubt that they all at some point develop an opportunity to further their career as models, network reps, commercial spots, beauty product showcasing, etc. Lets just say I think we can all agree when their time is done as a cheerleader, none of them are found working for McDonald’s the following year. I do agree the compensation is weak, but understanding the fact that cheerleaders are a side show, don’t play any direct role in the NFL, goes a long way in these lawsuits. I don’t have all the details but IMO this is just a greedy money grab, what about me- ploy

  23. Good for them. It is worth noting that NFL teams routinely bill out the cheerleaders for public appearances at a rate of hundreds of dollars per hour. That goes right into the pocket of the league and owners.

  24. I don’t think it’s only the cheerleaders. I used to work for an NFL team and during the NFL season I worked 70-80 hour weeks, due to travel and everything I went weeks without a day off. On top of that I was salary so I didn’t get paid by the hour. In reality the real unions need to be for the employees of the NFL club that takes advantages of them in so many ways. Even the players get more days off in an NFL season than the employees. I loved being part of the NFL but the real fact is, if you are not a player, executive or a coach you don’t mean anything to an NFL team. They can replace you tomorrow no questions asked for a cheaper employee that just wants to be part of an NFL team. I saw employees that were with the team for 15 years just get cut down to part-time and benefits taken away. The sad thing is you know how successful and how much money your team is making. I make more now, just working 40 hours and doing far less than I did with that team. The experience was amazing, the people I work with were great but I think it’s time the real hard working employees get paid for the hard work they put in 24/7 365 days of the year. It’s time for NFL employees (that includes cheerleaders) to unionize against the NFL.

  25. There is absolutely no reason why these ladies should not be paid & paid well for all their time, both for practices and performances. If you think cheering is not a real job, you get out there and do it. You’ll soon find how much work it is. I hope more cheerleaders become aware of this and expect to be paid decent wages. Doing something for the glory of being near an NFL team is not payment. That’s chauvanism at its worst.

  26. Smething is wrong with this picture. Most folks think that college students should be paid to play football, but cheerleaders should work for free.

  27. Even the hawker that sells foam hands and team hats makes 4x’s as much as they do, and they only work one day a week. I’m sorry they should be compensated, just my experience covering a pro team and team functions, charity events they are always there, it’s a part time job for them. I mean your average squad consists between 28-35 cheerleaders. Give em say 10-15k, that’s not less than half the price for a backup RB. Pay em, or hire a all female Asian drum line. I’ve seen the videos on youtube.

  28. mattwalshvideo says:
    Feb 13, 2014 5:06 PM
    Welcome to Obamas America.

    Give me, Give me, Give me.

    42 57

    – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – –
    i kind of found it funny that it was 42 thumbs up, and 57 down….almost reflects the way the voting is going from here on out.

  29. NFL cheerleaders are afforded massive global media exposure, access to the greatest sports entertainment marketing in the world, and given how many try out for the teams, and how few make it, a remarkably uncommon resume builder.

    The only thing I find fault with is limiting/restricting their ability to pursue new career opportunities.

    Let’s face it, these women are attracted to being an NFL cheerleader for its exclusivity, for the chance at a lucrative job as co-host on any E! show, or as a sideline reporter, or as a pro athlete’s wife.

    As such, treat them all as unpaid interns, with complete freedom to skip any team PR event should it conflict with a job interview.

    No NFL cheerleader should view being a cheerleader as their “job”. They should view it as stepping stone to a job for which they would otherwise not be considered.

  30. the only time you like having cheerleaders is when they wear those very revealing military tribute outfits. Other than that, you never notice that they are even there. Sorry ladies. Nobody cares about your dancing.

  31. If the business feels the cheerleaders add value to the fan experience, then the cheerleaders should get paid market rates for being models and dancers. If the business doesn’t feel they add value – then cut them. Saying they get paid in status is just code for saying it’s ok to rip off pretty women.

    I’d love to see all the NFL cheerleaders unionize. That would be awesome!

    Also – typically the proceeds for cheerleader calendars go to charity. I know that’s the case for the San Diego Chargers – at least that’s what their cheerleaders say.

    It is absolutely hilarious to see someone that say President Obama is at fault! But it’s nice that folks with one chromosome can type.

  32. I had a friend who was a Bengal cheerleader. She wasn’t even a “starter” and only cheered in 4 games. So she had to work all of those practice hours and events for an entire season for about $360 before taxes. It seemed illegal then and seeing it all written down here again it still seems illegal. I’d say it’s tolerated because girls that think they’re pretty and good at dancing like to tell people they’re NFL cheer leaders. Also, she got a cheerleader discount on her chest-job so there’s that benefit.

  33. These Cheerleaders knew what the compensation was when they make the squad. My daughter was a Raiderette for two seasons and IS NOT participating in the suit. She appreciates the opportunity that she had, and lived a lifetime dream, she stated if it wasn’t for the Raiders and perks that are available (if they want to participate) signings, appearances, she got to go on a USO trip etc….things she would have never been able to do in her life time if not for the NFL. Not to mention, just the reward of representing any NFL team is quite an accomplishment, that she can always look back on. So bottom line is sure these Cheerleaders will win their suit and be paid a few bucks, but they can’t play ignorance into their paycheck amount tha at the end of the season. (They already knew, and agreed to such in writing) Did they have to pay out of their own pockets for a year supply of MAC makeup, Trip to Hawaii for swim suit pictures etc…. Please !

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