Krystal C., who spent one year as a Jets cheerleader in 2012,
filed the lawsuit in New Jersey state court seeking back pay on
behalf of the entire squad.
The lawsuit followed similar legal action since January by
cheerleaders with the Oakland Raiders in California, the Cincinnati
Bengals in Ohio and the Buffalo Bills in New York.
In her lawsuit, Krystal C. said she and her teammates were paid a
flat $150 fee for games but were not compensated for practice time,
travel time and other work.
"When you look at the actual hours worked versus what Krystal was
paid, she only made $3.77 per hour," her attorney Patricia Pierce
New York's minimum wage is now $8.75 per hour.
Krystal C., who like many cheerleaders uses an initial instead of
her surname to protect her privacy, was emboldened to file suit
after watching other cheerleaders come forward, her attorney said.
"The failure to pay the women who work as cheerleaders a legal wage
for all of the hours that they work is clearly an NFL-wide problem
that needs to change," Pierce said.
The New York Jets did not immediately respond to an email seeking
In April, a wage theft lawsuit brought by five former cheerleaders
with the Buffalo Bills prompted the cheering squad to suspend
operations for the upcoming season that starts September 14.
The lawsuits have also focused attention on the working conditions
of cheerleaders who, unlike professional football players, are not
represented by a labor union.
"There has been some talk of organizing a national cheer association
as a result of these lawsuits, and that is a possibility," lawyer
Marc Panepinto, whose firm is representing the five former Buffalo
cheerleaders, said in an interview.
[to top of second column]
The lawsuit by the Bills cheerleaders, known as the Buffalo Jills,
claims the women were forced to work up to 840 unpaid hours a year.
The women also claim they had to pass embarrassing body fat
inspections known as the "jiggle test."
"They work their rear ends off literally and figuratively to be
Jills," he said. "You can't not pay people when they do work."
Oakland Raiders cheerleaders claim in their lawsuit filed in January
that their pay works out to be less than $5 per hour, and the
Cincinnati Bengals lawsuit in February said their pay is less than
$2.85 an hour, significantly under Ohio's minimum wage of $7.85.
Neither the National Football League nor Stejon Productions Corp,
which manages the Jills, responded to a request for comment.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Ellen Wulfhorst and Richard Chang)
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