Cincinnati Bengals get sued by Ben-Gals


Now it’s the Ben-Gals who have hired a Law Firm not named BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Sheila McLaughlin of reported that Alexa Brenneman’s suit is similar to the one filed by the Raiderettes. The suit says the following:

The cheer squad members put in more than 300 hours a season attending mandatory practices and charity events and performing required volunteer work but are paid a flat rate of $90 a game for cheering at 10 games during the 2013 season.

The suit says Brenneman, 24, of Downtown, was paid $2.85 an hour when the Ohio minimum wage in 2013 was $7.85 an hour. The 2013 season was the first season she cheered for the Bengals.

The suit is also seeking to get damages for the Ben-Gals who cheered in previous seasons.

More from the article:

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett, who is assigned to hear the case, first will have to determine whether the lawsuit meets certain criteria to proceed as a class action or collective action under federal labor law. If the suit is certified, all Ben-Gals since the 2011 season can join it, said Todd Naylor, an attorney on a legal team representing Brenneman. Up to 50 cheerleaders could be eligible, he said.

Ben-Gals can make $900 per season so 300 hours at minimum wage is around $2500 for the season. It’s a relatively small chunk of change on the NFL scale but it’s understandable that they would that kind of money. It’s not like they’re asking for a living wage to shake their pompoms.

So how tough is it to be a Ben-Gal? Pretty damn tough when you see the criteria they need to meet. These are from another McLaughlin article on the same site.

• The only exemption to missing practice is your wedding.
• Weight is extremely important. Ben-Gals are weighed in twice a week. Cheerleaders have a goal weight and can go up to three pounds over before being sanctioned. Anyone who goes over the three pounds is required to stay 30 minutes after practice for extra conditioning and may be ineligible for paid charity events. Anyone who fails to get back down to ideal weight is kicked off the squad.
• Insubordination and questioning authority is cause for dismissal. Those considered in positions of authority include the director, head coach, assistant coach, side captains, captains, choreographers, hair and makeup artist, dressing room assistants, field assistants and event coordinators.
• No fraternizing with the Bengals players or personnel and the locker room is “completely off limits.” A violation equals dismissal.
• No panties are to be worn under under practice clothes or uniforms, not even thongs. And, “No slouching breasts. Support as needed.”
• The only jewelry Ben-Gals can wear with a uniform is a wedding band and stud earrings.
• A Ben-Gals official must be approved to follow cheerleaders’ twitter accounts, even private accounts.

When they go so far as to “legislate” your underwear, you know there’s an awful lot of control being exerted. Even small levels of insubordination can result in a cheerleader being benched.

We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in court.

Check out our write-up on the Raiderettes suing the Raiders here.

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