Wednesday September 9th, 2015

Nineteen lawmakers from eight states sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday asking the league to classify cheerleaders league-wide as employees, reports Buzzfeed's Lindsey Adler

Employee status would entitle cheerleaders to minimum wage salaries and other protections. Cheerleaders are currently classified as “independent contractors,” meaning they lack benefits, can be fired at any time and are not required to make minimum wage.

The letter was addressed to Goodell, and came from lawmakers in California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Cheerleaders have filed wage lawsuits against the Raiders, Buccaneers, Jets, Bills and Bengals in the past year. In July, California signed into law a bill classifying cheerleaders for professional teams as employees.

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The letter claims the wage lawsuits “outline a system of abuses against cheerleaders” such as failure to receive timely pay, a failure to reimburse for mandatory expenses, and unlawful deductions from earnings for minor infractions.

The upcoming NFL season kicks off Thursday when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

– Rohan Nadkarni

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