Are the Cheerleaders for Some NFL Teams Victims of Wage Theft?

Ben-Gal cheerleader Alexa Brenneman has stepped forward to talk about potential wage and overtime violations by the Cincinnati Bengals, joining Lacy T. and Sarah G. in similar allegations against the Oakland Raiders. Although not every major sports team engages in illegal pay practices, it’s becoming more and more clear that wage and overtime problems could be pervasive in the professional cheer community—and that many NFL cheerleaders misunderstand their rights to pay under state and federal law.   

How Are Some NFL Teams Allegedly Breaking the Law When it Comes to Cheerleader Pay?

Although the specifics of the allegations against the two NFL teams vary, the cheerleaders’ complaints share some general similarities. These allegations include the following kinds of complaints:

  • If calculated out to the hour, cheerleaders often make far less than minimum wage. They receive flat-rate pay per game, but are also required to attend multiple unpaid events, appearances, and training in order to remain on the squad.
  • Despite being in a highly sought-after position that requires skill and experience, cheerleaders fear that complaints about illegal pay practices will mean losing their jobs—and they are even told that they can be easily replaced.
  • Cheerleaders end up paying work-related expenses from their own pockets, which can amount to hundreds and hundreds of dollars each season.
  • Cheerleaders typically only receive one paycheck at the end of the season, making it difficult to pay for the required travel, makeup, and costume expenses needed to perform during the active season.
  • Even though they may spend hours getting ready before a long game day or staying late at charity events, cheerleaders do not receive hourly or overtime pay.
  • Cheerleaders are required to adhere to certain health, beauty, and maintenance routines, and some teams may dictate employee behavior in public during off-duty hours.

If you are a professional cheerleader who has questions about wages and overtime pay, learn more about your rights by requesting a free copy of our book, 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim—or speak directly with our legal team by contacting us today.