Cheerleaders sue Buccaneers over miminum wage

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are being sued by their (former) cheerleaders for failure to pay minimum wage.

Former cheerleaders are suing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over fair wages, per the Tampa Bay Times. A collective action complaint claims that the Bucs paid their cheerleaders $100 per home game, and "very limited additional wages for some required appearances at corporate events", while requiring the cheerleaders to be present at other events without any remuneration. 

According to the lawsuit, that comes down to an average hourly wage of less than $2 per hour, well below Florida's already low minimum wage of $7.79 in 2013. 

Last month, the Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspended their operations after five former cheerleaders sued the team alleging unfair workplace conditions. In this lawsuit, those unfair workplace conditions appear to be limited solely to the team's pay. 

In reality, it was only a matter of time before we saw a lawsuit like this, as teams generally pay their cheerleaders extremely little in exchange for their services. It's slightly ridiculous, given the fact that cheerleading is not an easy job, takes up considerable time and effort, and most rookie mini-camp participants are better-paid than cheerleaders. Effectively, NFL teams pay cheerleaders as little as possible simply because they can, not because they can't afford to pay them more. 

Update: Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride noted that the Raiderettes were actually the first to sue their team. Interestingly, those cheerleaders actually made substantially more than the Bucs, earning $1250 per year and closer to $5 per hour. 

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