Wage and Hour Attorney answers: Can my job make deductions from my paycheck for violations? Can I be paid a flat rate and earn less than minimum wage? Will Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine succeed?
Welcome to the Cleveland Browns, Mike Pettine. Hiring an NFL coach is a lot like hiring a lawyer. When you hire a good head coach or attorney, your chances of winning go up, but there are no guarantees. Cleveland Browns fan know this all too well. While I think most of Cleveland reacted to the hiring of Pettine with a collective … ehh. Pettine understood this when he said, “But again, I don’t want to win press conferences. It’s going to come down to the fall and winning football games.” Good luck Mike. I truly hope that the Cleveland Browns end up earning all five years of your contract.
Now, transitioning to other football pay issues.
That’s what one Oakland Raiders cheerleader is claiming in a lawsuit that she has filed wherein she argues that the Raiders organization pays its cheerleaders less than minimum wage. In addition to her claim that the Raiders are violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying her less than minimum wage, “Lacy T.” the plaintiff, also argues that the Raiders disregarded the cheerleaders’ travel costs and also fined them for bringing the wrong pompoms to practice.
So what is Lacy T.’s basis for claiming that the Raiders paid her less than minimum wage? According to the lawsuit, the “Raiderettes” each had a contract for $1,250 per season, equating to about $125 for each of the team’s eight home games and two preseason home games (they do not travel with the team for away games). The lawsuit alleges that the Raiderettes’ pay does not include pay for practice time, required attendance at charity events and posing for the team’s swimsuit photo shoot. Certainly, Lacy T. will argue that she should be compensated for her practice time and attendance at team events as these were instances where she was “working” for the Raiders. According to the lawsuit, when all of this “unpaid time” is added to the $1,250 per season paid to the Raiderettes, it equals an hourly wage close to $5.00 per hour, which is well below the applicable minimum wage.
Finally, the lawsuit alleges other wage and hour violations including the allegation that the Raiders deducted $10.00 from a Raiderette’s pay when she brought the wrong pompoms to practice or to a game, as well as an allegation that the Raiders withheld the cheerleaders’ pay until the end of the season instead of paying them at least twice a month as mandated under California law.
So what about the other NFL teams and their cheerleaders? In addition the class of Raiderettes that are pursuing wage and hour violations against the Raiders, Lacy T.’s attorney says that she has been told that other NFL teams have similar wage and hour practices for their cheerleaders. If so, there would potentially be about 19 other cheerleader squads out there who may have similar wage and hour claims against their teams as well, turning what is now a California lawsuit into a full blown federal class action. Of course, the Cleveland Browns don’t have cheer leaders… so they can’t screw this one up. I guess this is one legal issue that Jimmy Haslam can easily avoid.
If you any questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act or think you or believe that your employer is paying you less than minimum wage or otherwise improperly, call the attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. Or maybe you are being misclassified as an independent contractor. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
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