Buffalo Jills sue Buffalo Bills

If Donald Trump decides to stop talking about buying the bills and start writing the check, he may eventually have to write a check, or five, to former cheerleaders who have sued the team.

Like lawsuits filed by Raiders cheerleaders and Bengals cheerleaders, the five former members of the Buffalo Jills claim that the team violated New York minimum wage laws.

Among other things, the lawsuit claims that the Bills and two outside companies that manage the Jills (Citadel Communications Company and Stejon Productions Company) failed to reimburse the Jills for certain business expenses, failed to pay them in a timely manner, took unlawful “deductions and kick-backs” from the wages, and unlawfully took gratuities paid to the Jills.

The plaintiffs claim that they did not receive compensation for working at Bills games.  Instead, they received a $90 game ticket and a parking pass.  They claim that no compensation was paid for practice time.

The complaint includes many other detailed allegations of unpaid work and degrading assignments, from an annual golf tournament to a “man show” at a local casino to a calendar release party.  They contend that they were required to buy 50-75 swimsuits calendars and then resell them on their own time, and that they were subject to “an onerous set of rules dictating how the women could walk, talk, dress, speak and behave, both in uniform and in their personal lives.”

The press release announcing the lawsuit mentions that the Bills and other NFL teams have started paying cheerleaders at the minimum wage level for all hours devoted to the job.  Which suggests that the Bills and other NFL teams realize that the former practices resulted in the cheerleaders not receiving the money they deserved.

It also suggests similar lawsuits are in the offing.  As they should be.  No one should be expected to work without getting fair compensation.  At a minimum, fair compensation for any job is the legally-determined minimum wage.

45 responses to “Buffalo Jills sue Buffalo Bills

  1. Much more interesting law suit when compared to the guys trying to turn the tables on Mike Adams.

  2. Buffalo Born and raised. To my knowledge, The Jills are volunteer and always have been volunteer, not team employees. They had to raise money to travel to the 4 Super Bowls because they weren’t a part of the team itself.

  3. Well the NFL is a non-profit organization, so why are the Jills suprised they don’t get any either?

    I guess Im suprised they don’t just do it for the Buffalo Bills pride. Like Jim Kelly did.

  4. Who needs cheerleaders in 2014? Age of the internet makes cheerleaders obsolete.

  5. A little known fact is that the cheerleaders for the bengals, raiders, and bills aren’t only suing for minimum wage, but also for equal opportunity employment rights. They have no chance of ever cheering in a SB, or even the playoffs for that matter. Their income is limited compared to other cheerleaders.

  6. These ladies put in a lot of hard work and need to be rewarded according to federal and state labor laws.This is an embarrassment for the entire NFL and its member organizations. These ladies deserve better.

  7. This is simply a case of lawyers looking for 2 things:
    1) a group to exploit
    2) a huge payday from a private organization

    The sad part is that when they lose, these women will be charged the legal fees, and they will lose their “jobs”. They should have just enjoyed what they had….

  8. People are expected to work in “unpaid internships”, sometimes full time if they expect to get off to a decent start in their career. And its total BS…But were the cheerleaders not told what they would be paid? Did the team indicate to them that they would be paid “x amount,” or did the team indicate to them, “hey, we’ll let you on the field and you can get in and park for free”?

  9. What really do the cheerleaders do for the game. They are crying foul so do as WE all do don’t like it get another job.

  10. I don’t understand the whole “if you don’t like it find another job” meme. These women are professional entertainers who have beat out a whole host of competition to earn their respective positions. They should at least be paid the scale rate. If that’s minimum wage or $50 an hour so be it. If the organization doesn’t want to pay what’s fair, abolish the position. They obviously bring something to the team or the team wouldn’t have them.

  11. What kind of employment contract are these girls signing? I understand it is basically contract work but it seems some minimum standards are in order for nfl cheerleaders

  12. Jill’s are volunteers if they don’t want to do it , don ‘t do it.
    Are United Way and Salvation Army volunteers next? We signed up to be bell ringers and now we want to be paid. It’s cold out there in front of K-Mart and we are standing there for a long time.
    Cheerleaders at all levels should be a thing of the past. I would rather my daughter be at the end of the bench on a legit team then Captain of the cheerleaders.

  13. All teams with Cheerleaders should just disband the squads, they aren’t needed and add nothing to the game.

    Yes, it’s nice to see women dancing around in their underwear, but they aren’t needed in football.

  14. Let’s clear a couple of things up: first, they are not part of the “team”. They are PR for the organization. They have a purpose and are currently suing because they are being taken advantage of. That is wrong. They are not bell-ringers. They are professionals like the men they cheer for. They have to compete and are held to an arduous schedule off the field. In many respects moreso than the players. They are a tradition and an important one. The game would be less without them. Team owners and the NFL already make more money than any human being needs in a lifetime and some of you Neanderthals are going to complain because they want fair compensation? Pay the girls. Treat them right. And allow those who enjoy the whole “football experience” to continue to do so.

  15. The league should step in and solve this problem by making all cheerleading squads employees of the teams and paying them game day checks and perks. It’s a pittance compared to what the teams rake in.

  16. I like cheerleaders. It’s a nice distraction when there is no action on the field. These girls are not asking for much.

  17. Stupid. It’s a volunteer position most use for their own exposure. Most teams require them to either have a real job or be a fill time student. This is NOT their sole income. Swimsuit calendar degrading? Really? Haven’t seen one yet that didn’t love autographing her page!

  18. I am sure their are other women who will be cheerleaders for an nfl team under the current practices. It’s their choice to work for the team or not.

  19. Pay the cheerleaders 20k a year a piece and the entire squad costs less than a third string center.

    Its really not that hard to do something nice for someone and it costs an NFL team practically nothing off their bottom line.

    And it may get us some better quality t and a to gawk at.

  20. I like how it’s funny to most football fans these women aren’t compensated or appreciated. They aren’t a big part of the organizations but do have to put in a lot of time and energy into something that is basically free. The NFL is one of the cheapest businesses and will continue to be. Just like college athletes, cheerleaders should be compensated for whatever the league and teams make off of their work plain and simple. We can stop being womanizers and and sexists

  21. I could care less about Cheerleaders except when my Daughter was one. The part I like about this story is the nonsense, non-football stuff that has finally left the Dolphins organization and made its way to Buffalo! The Pats have the spygate, no SB title in over 10 years and a Murderer, the Jets are well, a continual circus and they keep signing more and bringing controversy while the Bills just try to rise from dead last year and year out. Now they got mad Cheerleaders, Donald Trump and can’t decide where to ship the gear to? Toronto or Los Angeles.

  22. If this case was actually based in merit, wouldn’t have just been a lot smarter to quit their job with the Jills and seek employment elsewhere? But no, true to today’s mentality, it’s always someone else’s fault instead of the person taking responsibility for their own actions and life. Also, since the current theme in Washington, DC. is “equality” when it comes to paychecks, maybe the right thing to do is to either: 1. eliminate cheerleaders, because the concept is sexist and degrading to women or 2. reduce the player’s salaries and increase the cheerleader’s salaries so everyone is being paid equally.

  23. They aren’t paid? The team can’t cut loose a few crummy bucks but still wants somebody to do the job?

    In a league where players are paid in six and seven figures, that’s kind of cheapass.

  24. My god. All of you idiots screaming they should be paid need look up the world volunteer in the dicitonary. They are volunteers. Volunteers are never paid. That’s the point of being a volunteer. You are donating your time.

  25. It should be pretty simple. They applied and competed and earned the position. They were told the expectations, and should have it in writing. If not they should have insisted on that. Those expectations should have also included any compensation. If they didn’t like it, don’t agree to it. If the compensation was illegal, don’t agree to it and file the complaint at that time.
    So unless the terms of the agreement were violated, they should, they shouldn’t have gone accepted the opportunity as it turned out to be a bad deal for them.
    I expect some are happy with the arrangement, as only 5 of how many have sued.

    Should they be paid or not is not the issue. The issue is what was the agreement. We can all think they should be paid more. But if they agreed to take a low figure, then discovered it wasn’t worth what they thought, that’s their bad decision. Finish the agreement and don’t return next season.

  26. What? Why should a billion dollar organization have to pay people to work for it? Job creators, and stuff!

  27. There should be some kind of compensation. A ticket and a parking pass just isn’t gonna cut it. Don’t kid yourself saying that they are “just cheerleaders”. Cheerleaders have always been a huge part of the NFL publicity machine. Many would agree that often times the Cheerleaders are ambassadors for the NFL
    Let’s not forget the work that comes into play being a cheerleader. Also don’t think for a moment that the competitive nature of football is confined to just the men.

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