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Jets settle cheerleader wages dispute for $325K

Texas sports fans may enjoy watching the cheerleaders support their home teams, but according to the women, it is not all fun and games. The NFL is involved in another class action lawsuit from the cheerleaders of one of its teams and this time it is the Jets. One of the cheerleaders filed a lawsuit against the team in a state court alleging that the women had not been paid proper wages and were even being paid less than the state minimum wage.

The main plaintiff was with the team for only one season during 2012 to 2013. She alleges that she and over 50 other dancers were not paid hourly and were given flat rates depending on the work they were doing. The rates were reportedly $100 for each special event and $150 per game. Some of the women were featured in a team calendar and those women were not only required to purchase them, but also to sell them.

The plaintiffs apparently had other expenses as well. The cheerleaders were purportedly required to purchase gifts for their coach and each other to inspire motivation. Additionally, any time that was spent exercising and practicing was not paid for either and any beauty treatments were not reimbursed. After all of the additional expenses and purportedly unpaid hours were taken into account, the women were making less than the state minimum wage.

The Jets eventually decided to settle and pay the plaintiffs who were with the team dancing from 2011 to 2013 $325,000. The team stated that the reason it agreed to the settlement was not because it had done anything wrong, but so as not to prolong the time and expenses of the litigation process. Because of all of the recent lawsuits, lawmakers from 19 states -- including Texas -- have written to the commissioner of the NFL to find a way to handle the issue with cheerleader wages to prevent problems going forward.

Source: The New York Times, "Jets Become Latest N.F.L. Team to Settle a Wage Lawsuit Filed by Cheerleaders", Rebecca R. Ruiz, Jan. 27, 2016

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