SAN FRANCISCO—A former SF 49ers cheerleader filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday, January 31 claiming NFL executives suppressed wages for cheerleaders.
The lawsuit was filed by a woman identified in the court documents as “Jane Doe” who is seeking a class-action status for all NFL cheerleaders.
The unidentified woman was a cheerleader for the 49ers “Gold Rush Girls” from July 2013 to February 2014, according to the legal documents filed at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The former cheerleader alleges the NFL conspired to reduce competition among cheerleaders to make sure their earnings remained below market value.
The lawsuit indicates cheerleaders received only a flat, per-game fee and weren’t paid for rehearsal time or community outreach events.
NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had not seen the lawsuit and had no comments as of Wednesday, February 1.
The lawsuit alleges that cheerleaders were banned from working with other teams and prohibited by the NFL to seek employment from other professional cheerleading squads.
“The free market and legal systems are supposed to protect women as much as men. Here, they failed by not allowing the women to compete, to cheer on different teams, to work for the highest bidder,” said Drexel Bradshaw, the plaintiffs’ attorney in a statement.
San Francisco’s 49ers spokesman Bob Lange declined to comment on the accusations filed in lawsuit.
A New Jersey court approved a $325,000 settlement between the New York Jets and their cheerleaders. The 52 Jet cheerleaders listed in the class-action filing will receive $2,500 for each season they worked in the two-year period, reports said.
In 2014, the Oakland Raiders paid $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the team did not pay their cheerleaders minimum wage.