On July 15, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 202 into law. The Bill requires professional sports teams to treat professional cheerleaders as employees under the new California employment law. The aim of the new law is to provide more protection for cheer athletes in California from being paid less than minimum wage.
The passage of the bill comes in the wake of lawsuits brought against the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills. Professional cheerleaders for the Raiders and Bills alleged they had been forced to spend personal funds on such things as uniforms and personal style requirements. They also reported that their total compensation amounted to less than minimum wage for the hours they put into practices, special events, and games. These employment practices became unlawful after the new law went into effect. The Lacy T. et al v The Oakland Raiders class action lawsuit, filed in 2014, revealed a system of employment abuses against professional cheerleaders.
Proponent of the Senate Bill 292, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, reported, “NFL teams and their billionaire owners have used professional cheerleaders as part of the gameday experience for decades. They have capitalized on their talents without providing even the most basic workplace protections like a minimum wage.” Gonzalez is a former collegiate-level cheerleader being elected to office in 2013. “If the guy selling you the beer deserves a minimum wage, so does the woman entertaining you on the field. All work is dignified and cheerleaders deserve the respect of these basic workplace protections.”
If you have a wage or hour dispute with a current or former employer, you need to speak with an employment law attorney. An experienced wage and hour attorney will know the law and how it applies to your circumstances. You may be entitled to back pay. Contact the knowledgeable and experienced employment law attorneys at Aiman-Smith & Marcy today.