T H E  N E W  Y O R K  C I T Y  L A W  O F F I C E S  OF



















We Help Employees Take Action

and Recover Fair Compensation in

New York and Across the U.S.










California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Legislation Recognizing Professional Cheerleaders as Employees



Ruling makes cheerleaders employees, not contractors

California Governor Jerry Brown made history recently by signing a bill designating professional cheerleaders as employees, rather than contractors. The law follows a spate of lawsuits filed against National Football League franchises by cheerleaders. Lawsuits against the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, among others, have received significant media attention. In the Oakland case, the Raiders agreed to pay a $1.25 million settlement to present and former cheerleaders.

What does the new law mean?

The designation of cheerleaders as employees rather than contractors has a significant impact on wage and benefit policies throughout the state of California.

As employees, cheerleaders are now entitled to:

  • Sick leave: The new law clears the way for cheerleaders to obtain pay for sick leave, and paid time off. While providing sick leave is now required of California sports franchises, each organization has the right to determine its own policies on the matter, provided those policies meet state labor law requirements.

  • Additional benefits: Under the new law, cheerleaders may be entitled to organization-sponsored health coverage and other such benefits.

The law also opens the door for professional cheerleaders to receive compensation for a number of factors, including:

  • Minimum-wage violations: Many cheerleaders are offered a flat rate per season, such as $10,000, regardless of the hours they may put in. This single wage often means that cheerleaders may be asked to work for less than minimum wage in busy weeks. The ruling changes the way cheerleaders are compensated, and eliminates the potential for minimum wage violations.

  • Travel: Cheerleaders are often asked to make appearances throughout the area, and the country. As contractors, employees may not be entitled to payment for their travel hours. The ruling changes that, however, and requires sports teams to compensate cheerleaders for travel.

  • Expenses: Contracted cheerleaders are not offered payment for expenses incurred in the course of their duties. As employees, however, cheerleaders will be reimbursed for their expenses.

  • Delayed wages: In some situations, sports teams may delay a cheerleader’s wages due to lack of funding. The law disallows that practice.

Will the law gain traction throughout the rest of the country?

While California may be the first state to enact a law designating professional cheerleaders as employees, it certainly won’t be the last. Other states are likely to follow suit, especially as legal action continues to be brought against professional sports teams throughout the country.

If you are a cheerleader or other support staff member of a professional sports franchise, it may be helpful to discuss your situation with a New York employment law attorney. By doing so, you may gain insight into your future options for pursuing added benefits and wage payments.

At Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, our New York employment law attorneys maintain detailed awareness of changes in state and federal labor laws. We know that as changes are made in other states, changes are likely to follow in New York.

Contact us online or call 212-545-1199 to discuss your case during a free consultation with one of our New York employment law attorneys.





Contact an employment law attorney in New York today for a free initial consultation and determine whether you have a case. For a free initial consultation, you can contact us online or by phone.

CALL US TODAY! 212-545-1199