04/04/2014 (press release: CAWageHourLaw) // Eric Grover
Cincinnati Ben-Gals Cheerleader Lawsuit Claims Minimum Wage Law Violations
A second National Football League (NFL) team is now facing allegations of federal wage law violations after a Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader filed suit against the franchise. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, and seeks to include all Ben-Gals since 2011, reports California wage and hour lawyer Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
Alex Brenneman, 24, filed the lawsuit stating that the Ben-Gals worked over 300 hours between mandatory practices, charity events and volunteer work, but were only paid a flat rate of $90 per game during the 10-game 2013 season. If a member didn’t cheer during a game, they were paid $45 per day to make private appearances in the luxury suites, Cincinnati.com revealed.
Brennenman says she was compensated $2.85 per hour, although the minimum wage by law in Ohio was $7.85 per hour.
During their season, the Ben-Gals are required to attend two 3-hour practices a week, with tardiness resulting in being benched during games. They are also required to attend a minimum of 12 charity events if they wanted to be considered for paid appearances. But, although the Bengals team is paid $300 per charity appearance, the cheerleaders only received $75.
In addition, the Ben-Gals were forced to pose and promote the Cincinnati Ben-Gals calendar without pay, even though the franchise made money from the calendar sales, according to the lawsuit
Bengals officials issued this statement through spokesman Jack Brennan: “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.”
As noted, this is the second filing to name an NFL team in a minimum wage violation lawsuit this year. Two Oakland Raider cheerleaders are also suing their NFL franchise for similar accusations. The Raiderettes claim they were only paid $1,250 per season and were required to cover many of their business expenses, stated California attorney Eric Grover.
The Ben-Gal lawsuit is seeking to prohibit the Bengals from further violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act. The suit is also seeking unpaid wages for cheerleaders, as well as attorney fees and court costs.
“Doing a job because you love it should never be a valid excuse for a multi-million dollar franchise to get away with violating the FLSA and minimum wage laws,” explains Grover, an Oakland wage and hour lawyer. “ Regardless whether a position could lead to other career opportunities workers should at least be compensated at the minimum wage level—no less.
The Oakland Wage & Hour Law Firm of Keller Grover has been helping victims of wage theft recover lost wages for since 2005 in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Jose. To learn more about if you’ve been a victim of wage theft, please contact Keller Grover at 888-601-6939 and ask to speak with an Eric Grover of California wage and hour law firm of Keller Grover LLP
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