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Buffalo Bills cheerleaders file lawsuit over pay: Claims 'Jiggle test' demeaning

Buffalo Bills cheerleaders file lawsuit over pay and treatment.
Buffalo Bills cheerleaders file lawsuit over pay and treatment.
Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills cheerleaders filed a lawsuit over the team’s pay system after working hundreds of hours for free at mandatory appearances and at the games. The five former cheerleaders who filed this lawsuit have opened a window for the public to see that it isn’t the glamorous job, that so many future cheerleader hopefuls seem to think it is.

According to Fox Sports these women said in their lawsuit that they were subjected to groping, sexual comments and the “jiggle test." The women were asked to do this “jiggle test” so their boss could see how firm the girls were. This is the third lawsuit filed by a group of National Football League cheerleaders in the state Supreme Court this year.

Obviously there is a problem and it is not just with the Buffalo Bills cheerleaders. The Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders have lawsuits regarding their wages. The case against the Buffalo Bills franchise states that the cheerleaders are “wrongly classified as independent contractors.”

The policies that the cheerleaders should fall under are the same ones that dictate employees should be paid $8 per hour as the state’s minimum wage. As independent contractors there is no mandatory pay wage.

The cheerleaders are not paid for their performance at games and they are expected to make up to 30 appearances a season, for which they are not paid. They pay for their own travel and for their own uniforms, which cost $650 a piece.

The lawsuit claims that the time they spend in this cheerleader position and the expense that comes out of their pockets, far exceeds what that they signed up for. The strict rules that governor over their personal lives is also much more than they expected when first signing on to the Bills, or “Jills.”

This civil lawsuit is looking for back wages, in an undisclosed amount. They also want legal fees paid. They are suing the Buffalo Bills, former manager Citadel Communications Co. and Stejon Productions Corp, according to USA Today.

A provision in the lawsuit allows the women bringing this lawsuit forward to stay anonymous. The provision states that they can remain unnamed under the circumstance ''where identification poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm.'' Their filed complaint describes:

''Demeaning and degrading treatment,'' including being required to wear bikinis at various events such as an annual golf tournament at which cheerleaders were ''auctioned off like prizes'' and subjected to ''degrading sexual comments and inappropriate touching.''

They are hoping that this lawsuit will change the policies for the future cheerleaders. According to Celebrity Net Worth, NFL cheerleaders make $500 to $750 per season, not per game. The website did their homework and it is actually shocking to see the cheerleaders wages. How much do these cheerleaders get paid? Check out the Celebrity Net Worth's list for the cheerleaders' wages for each team.

Thousands of young women show up to try out for an NFL team’s cheerleader squad. It is the prestige that most are after with the pay not a consideration for most at the time they are picked. Many hope to use their cheerleader position as a stepping stone to a career in performing. That is usually not the case though, while some go on to professional acting or professional dancing careers, most don’t get that far.

They know what they are expected to do and how little they will be paid for this when first signing up. While it sounds as if the Bills' cheerleaders had to do far more than they were first informed, the unpaid public appearances are the same for just about every team's cheerleaders.

Only 26 out of the 32 NFL teams have a cheerleader squad, with the New York Giants one of the teams refusing to have cheerleaders. They are very blatant about not wanting to support scantily clad women on their sideline. The Baltimore Ravens are the only NFL team that have a male cheerleader.

When the novelty wears off and they actually take stock in what they are gaining from this gig, many realize that they are under paid and under-appreciated. It is almost like a volunteer job for these women with the pay so low and absolutely no monetary perks at all.

The tryouts is like winning a pageant when they are picked. They are the best looking and most talented women in the flock who wear the NFL teams' cheerleader outfits and at first this is enough for many of the women.

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