By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Can you agree to be paid less than minimum wage?
In case you thought cheerleading in the NFL was all glitz and glamour, what with all the jumping around in skimpy outfits in freezing cold temperatures while drunken rowdy fans leer at the body that you have to get weighed in every week, turns out it is not all it’s cracked up to be – at least according to a lawsuit filed by a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders.
According to the lawsuit, when you add up the hours that the cheerleaders spend in rehearsals, games, and charity events, it works out to less than $5 per hour. In other words, less than minimum wage. But if they knew they were going to get paid $1250 for the entire season and agreed to it, can they still sue?
The answer is yes. The law says that everyone is entitled to at least minimum wage, which nationally is $7.25, more in some states like California, unless the worker is an independent contractor, works for tips, is a farm or seasonal worker (like an amusement park worker) or an exempt white collar worker earning a salary of at least $455 per week, you must be paid at least minimum wage.
So if you don’t fall into one of those specific exceptions – and you’ll note that being in a calendar is not an exception – then you should be paid at least minimum w-a-g-e.