On Tuesday, five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders filed a lawsuit against the NFL team over an unfair pay system.
The girls, known as the Buffalo Jills, claim that they were required to work hundreds of hours at games and mandatory public appearances for little to no pay.
Because the team classifies their cheerleaders as independent contractors, they are exempt from the state’s $8 minimum wage law and other workplace policies.
Two members of the squad, along with their attorney Frank Dolce, held a press conference on Tuesday. “We are Bills fans,” said Dolce. “We definitely want our organization and other organizations in the NFL to respect the rights of these cheerleaders.”
When the girls signed up for the team, they never expected the costs that would come along with it. Not only do they have to pay $650 for their uniforms, for which they are not reimbursed, they also receive no pay for practices or games and are required to make 20-35 public appearances each season.
Aside from the money, the girls also claim that they received degrading and demeaning treatment. They revealed that they were subjected to “jiggle tests” in which they would have to shake in front of their coach to see if any part of their bodies jiggled. They also were required to wear bikinis to several events, and received sexual advances and comments from the public.
According to the girls, the team controlled everything they did, including their personal lives. “Everything from standing in front of us with a clipboard having us do a jiggle test to see what parts of our body were jiggling,” Alyssa U., one of the former cheerleaders, said, “and if that was something that she saw, you were getting benched.”
The Buffalo Bills are not the only team facing a lawsuit from former cheerleaders. The Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals have suits pending against them as well.
Image via Wikimedia Commons