The Raiders' rough season continues. Wednesday, they were sued by their cheerleading squad.
The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of current and former Raiderettes, claims that the NFL team engaged in wage theft and other unfair employment practices. Specifically, the suit charges that the team withholds all pay from the Raiderettes until after the season is completed, does not pay for all hours worked and forces the cheerleaders to pay many of their own business expenses.
"It's as if the Raiders' owners believe that the laws that protect all workers in California just don't apply to them," attorney Sharon Vinick said.
According to Vinick, the Raiders cheerleaders are contracted for an annual salary of $1,250, which amounts to an hourly wage of less than $5 per hour. The lawsuit also claims that the Raiderettes incur other costs, including fines levied for infractions such as bringing the wrong pom-poms to practice, wearing the wrong workout clothing to rehearsals, failing to bring a yoga mat to practice, or not turning in written biographies on time.
"The club controls our hairstyle and makeup, and we have to foot the bill," said the lead plaintiff, Lacy T., identified only by her first name, in accordance with Raiderettes policy, for security reasons. "We also have to pay the costs for traveling to all kinds of events, including photo shoots... I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams."
Vinick, the attorney, said the Raiders owe tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages to women who worked as Raiderettes in previous seasons, and owes thousands of dollars in penalties to the women who worked this season.
"I have never seen an employment contract with so many illegal provisions," Vinick said.
The Raiders, through a team spokesperson, declined comment.