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Buffalo Jills sue Buffalo Bills


If Donald Trump decides to stop talking about buying the bills and start writing the check, he may eventually have to write a check, or five, to former cheerleaders who have sued the team.

Like lawsuits filed by Raiders cheerleaders and Bengals cheerleaders, the five former members of the Buffalo Jills claim that the team violated New York minimum wage laws.

Among other things, the lawsuit claims that the Bills and two outside companies that manage the Jills (Citadel Communications Company and Stejon Productions Company) failed to reimburse the Jills for certain business expenses, failed to pay them in a timely manner, took unlawful “deductions and kick-backs” from the wages, and unlawfully took gratuities paid to the Jills.

The plaintiffs claim that they did not receive compensation for working at Bills games. Instead, they received a $90 game ticket and a parking pass. They claim that no compensation was paid for practice time.

The complaint includes many other detailed allegations of unpaid work and degrading assignments, from an annual golf tournament to a “man show” at a local casino to a calendar release party. They contend that they were required to buy 50-75 swimsuits calendars and then resell them on their own time, and that they were subject to “an onerous set of rules dictating how the women could walk, talk, dress, speak and behave, both in uniform and in their personal lives.”

The press release announcing the lawsuit mentions that the Bills and other NFL teams have started paying cheerleaders at the minimum wage level for all hours devoted to the job. Which suggests that the Bills and other NFL teams realize that the former practices resulted in the cheerleaders not receiving the money they deserved.

It also suggests similar lawsuits are in the offing. As they should be. No one should be expected to work without getting fair compensation. At a minimum, fair compensation for any job is the legally-determined minimum wage.