Cheerleader with Cincinnati Ben-Gals Squad Sues Bengals for Wage Discrimination
A cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals, on a squad called the Ben-Gals, has filed a lawsuit against the team due to wage discrimination.
On Tuesday, February 11th, Alexa Brenneman filed a wage discrimination lawsuit because the team violated federal and state minimum wage laws. Like a similar wage discrimination lawsuit brought forth by a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders, Brenneman wants her lawsuit to become a class action case and extend to all Ben-Gals as far back as 2011.
The wage discrimination suit states that contract terms for Ben-Gals cheerleaders requires them to put in more than 300 hours of practice per season, along with mandatory charity events and other volunteer work that is unpaid, and accept a flat rate of $90 per game in a 10-game season. Brenneman said that total amounted to $2.85 per hour of work in the 2013 season, while Ohio minimum wage in 2013 was $7.85 per hour.
US District Judge Michael Barrett, who was assigned to the case, will determine whether the wage discrimination suit meets the criteria to become a class action or collective action under federal labor law. Up to 50 cheerleaders could be eligible to join the lawsuit if it becomes a class action case.
“They do it because they love it and I think we can have a fair debate in this country about what the minimum wage should be. What I don’t think we can have a fair debate about is, if the law is on the books, whether it should be enforced,” said Todd Naylor, an attorney on a legal team representing Brenneman. “It’s part of the Ohio Constitution that they are required to do this. If they work these hours then they should be compensated.”
Spokesman Jack Brennan issued the following statement on behalf of the Cincinnati Bengals: “The Ben-Gals cheerleading program has long been a program run by former cheerleaders and has enjoyed broad support in the community and by members of the squad. The lawsuit appears to be a copycat lawsuit that mimics the one filed last month in California against a different NFL club. The Bengals will address the litigation in due course.”
Although the Ben-Gals’ contract is standard across the NFL, it violates Federal Wage Law. Advocates say cheerleading is a profession that demands rigorous training and specific skills, and therefore the women should be paid commensurate with experience and dedication as other skilled professionals are. It is also a physically demanding profession with a high injury rate, which means that the women need overtime, workers compensation, and health insurance – which most contracts currently do not offer.
Wage Discrimination and Minimum Wage Infractions in South Carolina
If you are employed by a company, it is your right to receive minimum wage payments under our labor laws controlled by Department of Labor. If you feel you have not been receiving federal minimum wage, you need to contact a South Carolina business litigation attorney who will fight for your rights.
As an employee in the state of South Carolina, you are entitled to make an hourly wage of at least $7.25 per hour. For many jobs you are also entitled to overtime pay. If have worked over 40 hours in one work week, you may be entitled to receive “time and half” pay for each hour worked over 40 in that workweek.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Wage Discrimination and Fair Labor Violations
If you are currently not receiving minimum wage for the work you do, face wage discrimination compared to fellow workers, or you are not receiving compensation for your overtime work, contact the South Carolina business litigation attorney the Strom Law Firm today. We will fight aggressively for you. Call today for a free consultation.803.252.4800.