NFL Teams Who Underpaid Their Cheerleaders Lose Millions In Court Settlements

CREDIT: (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

A second NFL team has reached a settlement with former cheerleaders who alleged that they were not paid the legal minimum wage. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of five NFL teams facing fair wage lawsuits, on Friday reached an $825,000 settlement with two former cheerleaders who sued the team last year, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The settlement comes months after the Oakland Raiders reached a $1.25 million settlement with a group of its former cheerleaders.

Manouchcar Pierre-Val, who cheered for the team for one season, alleged in the lawsuit filed in May that the team paid her and other cheerleaders less than $2 per hour once all of their time worked was calculated. The team paid cheerleaders $100 per game but according to the suit did not compensate them for other time spent working training and publicity events. Florida’s minimum wage was $7.67 per hour in 2012 and $7.79 per hour in 2013.

As part of the settlement, the Bucs did not admit wrongdoing. According to the Times, the settlement amount is meant to pay each cheerleader affected nearly $6,000, or roughly what they would have made had the team paid the minimum wage. It could apply to as many as 94 former Bucs cheerleaders.

The Buccaneers and Raiders both began paying their current cheerleaders the minimum wage during the 2014-2015 NFL season.

In addition to Oakland and Tampa Bay, former cheerleaders also filed lawsuits against the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and New York Jets, all alleging that those teams failed to pay minimum wage. The Bills suit also includes details of how the cheerleaders were subject to “jiggle tests” to make sure they met weight and appearance standards, and that they faced guidelines that included how to wash their vaginas. Those three suits are still pending, as is another lawsuit against the Raiders from another former cheerleader.