California NFL cheerleaders finally gain ‘employee’ status
Professional sports teams in California will finally have to treat their cheerleaders like employees and provide them with all benefits that employees are entitled to get, thanks to a new law just signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Gov. Brown signed the measure on Wednesday this week, requiring the Oakland Raiders and other professional sports teams based in the Golden State to reclassify their cheerleaders as employees.
The change means cheerleaders of all professional teams will now get at least minimum wage, overtime, paid sick leave and other protections that employers have to give to their workers to comply with the state's employment law.
The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez in wake of controversy sparked by a lawsuit, in which Oakland Raiders cheerleaders challenged the team's policy of not considering them as employees. The team eventually settled the dispute by paying $1.25 million to ninety of its cheerleaders.
Gonzalez, a democrat from San Diego, said, "Today we took an important step toward ensuring that multi-billion dollar sports teams treat cheerleaders with the same dignity and respect as every other employee who makes the game-day experience special."
The National Football League (NFL) issued a statement urging all teams to obey all state and federal employment laws. But NFL officials added that cheerleaders are employed by the teams and not by the league.
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