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Buffalo Bills cheerleaders sue team over poor treatment

Buffalo Bills cheerleaders, the Jills, sue team over poor treatment The Bills' cheerleaders are just the latest squad to take legal action against their team. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Joining the likes of the cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills cheerleaders, dubbed the "Jills," have filed a lawsuit against the team over compensation and treatment. The mistreatment, outlined in a lawsuit filed to the State Supreme Court, includes being paid below the minimum wage, inappropriate contact, degrading comments and being subject to demeaning treatment.

The lawsuit takes aim at Stejon Productions Corp., the Jills' former manager, Citadel Communications and the Bills

"I’ve been a Bills fans my entire life,” Maria P., a former Jill, said, via the Buffalo News. “To be able to cheer them on in front of 80,000 fans was a dream of mine since I was a child. That dream was taken advantage of by the Bills.

“I could not go back because of the harassment and the way we were treated. I signed up to be a cheerleader, not whatever you want to call that. Cheerleading was my passion. I had no idea what would be taking place at these events.”

Maria P. alleges that she was inappropriately touched during the Jills' annual golf tournament, where the cheerleaders were also forced to wear bikinis and be placed in a dunk tank. They were auctioned off as prizes at the event, and at some point during the tryout process to become a Jill had to perform a "jiggle test."

Part of the lawsuit reads:

In addition, the Jills were subjected to weekly “physique evaluations” during which defendants’ representatives tested the Jills’ bodies for “jiggling.” During the “Jiggle Test” defendants scrutinized the women’s stomach, arms, legs, hips, and butt while she does jumping jacks. The physique evaluations largely determine whether or not any particular Jill would be allowed to perform at the Bills’ next home game. Jills that failed to meet defendants’ physical standards received warnings, and in some cases were penalized, suspended or dismissed.

The Bengals and Raiders, who previously were hit with similar lawsuits surrounding the pay of their cheerleaders, have been handling the legal process quietly, disputing many of the claims.

The Bills will likely follow the same strategy.

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