Governor signs bill giving employee rights to pro cheerleaders

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SAN DIEGO — A San Diego lawmaker’s bill providing cheerleaders for professional sports teams with basic employee rights under state law was signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, says the law requires that teams provide cheerleaders with the same rights and benefits as other employees, protecting them against financial and personal abuses that have been reported throughout the country.

We would never tolerate shortchanging of women workers at any other workplace,” said Gonzalez, who was a cheerleader in high school and at Stanford University.

“An NFL game should be no different,” she said. “Today we took an important step toward ensuring that multibillion-dollar sports teams treat cheerleaders with the same dignity and respect as every other employee who makes the game-day experience special.”

Citing news reports and lawsuits, she said cheerleaders are subjected to sub-minimum wage pay, are forced to pay thousands of dollars of unreimbursed travel costs and work unpaid overtime.

Several NFL cheerleaders have sued their teams in the last couple of years over their working conditions. The Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers settled lawsuits over the past year. The Raiders agreed to pay $9 an hour and back wages.

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