Raiderettes take home minimum wage after settlement

Ninety-one present and former Oakland Raiderettes cheerleaders have now received more than $800,000 from the football team in the settlement of a lawsuit that claimed they were denied minimum wage, their lawyers announced Wednesday.

The class action lawsuit was filed against the Raiders in Alameda County Superior Court in January 2014 and was settled later that year.

But because one member of the cheerleading squad appealed, claiming the settlement wasn’t fair, the case did not end until the state Court of Appeal upheld the settlement in December and the California Supreme Court denied review of the case in March.

The settlement totaled $1.25 million and also included $400,000 in attorneys’ fees for the Raiderettes’ lawyers.

In addition to claiming they were denied minimum wages, the Raiderettes alleged they denied overtime and forced to pay some of their business expenses, such as the costs of traveling to appearances and using Raider-approved hair stylists.

They also alleged the team deducted fines of $10 or more from their pay for actions such as forgetting to bring the correct pompoms to rehearsals.

Sharon Vinick, a lawyer for the women, said:

“Our clients have now been paid the equivalent of minimum wage for all of the hours they worked and have been reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses.”

Vinick said the cheerleaders, who worked for the team between 2010 and the 2013-2014 season, received amounts ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, depending on how many seasons they worked.

She said the lawsuit was a catalyst for four similar lawsuits against National Football League teams and that NFL teams now appear to have adjusted their practices.

The courage of the first two Raiderettes who stepped forward “led to sweeping changes in the way that professional cheerleaders are compensated, as well as a national conversation about wage theft,” Vinick said.