New York Jets Reach Lawsuit Settlement with Cheerleaders over Wages

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2016

New York Jets cheerleaders perform during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The New York Jets reached a settlement agreement Friday with team cheerleaders after they filed a class-action lawsuit over wages.

The Associated Press reported the Jets will pay nearly $324,000 after the cheerleaders claimed they weren't compensated for practices and other aspects of the job.

John C. Ensslin of the Record noted each individual will receive between $2,559 and $5,913 depending on her involvement during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Patricia V. Pierce, a lawyer for the cheerleader who spearheaded the lawsuit efforts, told the Record the wages the women received were incredibly low when taking all facets of the job into account.

"When you figure all that up, they were making less than minimum wage," Pierce said.

The report also noted that Jets spokesman Bruce Speight provided no further comment on the matter. Instead, he referred to a previous statement from August, when a preliminary agreement was reached.

"The Jets deny the claims and the parties have agreed to a settlement to avoid the expense, time and distraction of litigation," the statement read.

Other teams around the National Football League have dealt with similar lawsuits. Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times reported in 2014 that cheerleaders with the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders were seeking compensation for their alleged underpayment.

Claire Zillman of reported the fight has also crossed sport lines, with a former Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader suing the NBA team last September under wage and payment laws. Lauren Herington claimed to receive less than $5 per hour for her work.

The success of the Jets cheerleaders in receiving a high-profile settlement likely sets the stage for further court battles as the various groups seek fair compensation.