Report: Bucs reach settlement in cheerleader salary dispute
(NY Daily News) TAMPA, Fla. – There is a little more to cheer about in Tampa.
The Buccaneers have reportedly reached a deal to settle a class-action lawsuit over paltry pay brought by an ex-member of the NFL team’s cheerleading squad.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday night that the Bucs have agreed to pay up to $825,000 to settle the lawsuit.
Manouchcar Pierre-Val, a Bucs cheerleader during the 2012-2013 season, argued in the lawsuit that she and other cheerleaders were required to work unpaid hours that included practice time, charity events, running cheerleading clinics and posing for swimsuit calendars. The cheerleaders were compensated just $100 per game, according to Pierre-Val.
The Times reported that while two other women joined the suit, a total of 94 cheerleaders are eligible to claim a piece of the settlement.
“If you work for someone, you deserve to be compensated for the work,” Pierre-Val told the newspaper.
Cheerleaders for four other NFL teams – the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and the Jets – have filed similar lawsuits over the shockingly low wages.
The Buccaneers settled the suit despite claiming they did not owe the cheerleaders back pay, the Times reported, citing court documents in the case.
The settlement – which will ultimately pay each cheerleader about $3,445 per season (basically minimum wage) – still needs to be approved by a judge.
According to the report, the Bucs have been paying their cheerleaders at least minimum wage since May 2014.
The Bucs’ official website is currently hyping cheerleader auditions that begin on March 22. Requirements listed on the website include:
- Must be 18 years old by July 1, 2015. There is no maximum age limit
- Must be a high school graduate or a G.E.D. recipient by July 1, 2015.
- Must be able to attend rehearsals, games, appearances and cheerleader-related events during and prior to the season.
- Must have reliable means of transportation.
The website offers hopeful cheerleaders the chance to pay for both pre-audition prep classes ($25 each) and an audition workshop ($45).
OK, so maybe there isn’t that much to cheer about after all.