Five former cheerleaders have filed suit over wages against the Buffalo Bills. The team currently classifies cheerleaders as independent contractors, not as employees, thereby bypassing minimum wage requirements. The court may challenge their status, according to Tarnished Twenty, if it finds that “the organization gives a worker instructions on how to perform work, controls the work hours, tells the worker what to wear, and exercises a good amount of control over the worker.”
In addition to wage complaints, the Jills were required to attend special functions in bikinis and be “auctioned off” to event guests. The team also dictated many aspects of the girls’ personal lives from nail polish and personal hygiene to social media posts. One cheerleader describes “a jiggle test to see what parts of our body were jiggling, and if that was something that she saw, you were getting benched.”
The cheerleaders and their lawyer, Frank Dolce, still consider themselves Bills fans: “We definitely want our organization and other organizations in the NFL to respect the rights of these cheerleaders.”
Other fans share their wish and have offered their support in the form of tweets:
— Jim Heaney (@JimHeaney) April 23, 2014
The Deadspin article went on to cite the official complaint regarding the infamous “jiggle test”:
62. In addition, the Jills were subjected to weekly “physique evaluations” during which defendants’ representatives tested the Jills’ bodies for “jiggling.” During the “Jiggle Test” defendants scrutinized the women’s stomach, arms, legs, hips, and butt while she does jumping jacks. The physique evaluations largely determine whether or not any particular Jill would be allowed to perform at the Bills’ next home game. Jills that failed to meet defendants’ physical standards received warnings, and in some cases were penalized, suspended or dismissed.
Add this to fact the one cheerleader was “told to ‘tone up’ her body after one such evaluation. She began a stringent diet and exercise plan, only to be accused later of anorexia.” Plus, the pay ranges from $1,800 to $150 for the entire season, way below New York State’s minimum wage of eight dollars an hour. Other complaints can be read on the official summons:
For a look into what it takes to be a Buffalo Bills cheerleader, check out the YouTube video below. However, unless this suit is successful, be warned: the pay is terrible.
Image via WIVBTV, YouTube