A former National Football League (NFL) cheerleader has spent the past year fighting how the organization treats women. She claims that they maintain a culture that discriminates against females, while focusing on power and money. As a cheerleader for an NFL team for three years, she was fired early in 2018. The reasons given were an unconfirmed meeting with a player and concern over a post on her Instagram account. She soon filed a gender discrimination complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the team, and a sex discrimination suit.
The suit claimed that the NFL treated female cheerleaders differently from male players, subjecting women to different standards. It shed light on the NFL’s rules for cheerleaders, including cheerleaders avoiding any contact with players, whether it be online or in person. This included blocking players from social media, not eating in the same restaurants, and not posting certain photographs. These rules did not apply to the players.
The response to her whistleblowing actions have been mixed. While she has been interviewed around the globe, not all responses have been positive. She has been shunned and been subject to online attacks. Some have been from men, but many are from other cheerleaders, complaining that the whistleblowing has made their jobs more difficult. These negative reactions are not unusual, as others that have stood up to power institutions throughout the #MeToo movement had similar experiences. The former cheerleader stated that these responses are degrading to her and all women.
Other NFL teams have faced suits from cheerleaders over the past few years. The Jets, Raiders, and Bengals were faced with claims regarding treatment and low wages. The Milwaukee Bucks reportedly settled on a $250,000 class-action suit over minimum wages from a former dancer. A San Francisco 49ers cheerleader was allegedly fired after posting a picture of her and her boyfriend, and three National Basketball Association (NBA) cheerleaders claimed they were fired after dating the team’s players. There have been additional complaints from former cheerleaders, yet many do not wish to publicize their stories due to fear of losing their jobs.
More on the Lawsuit
According to the former cheerleader, her main goal is to establish equal treatment for cheerleaders and players, such as adhering to the same rules for social media postings and fraternization. The NFL team denied discrimination and denied that they threatened her with a defamation lawsuit. They said that the organization and team are in favor of fair employment practices. She hopes that other cheerleaders will join her fight since it is important to show others that she is an advocate, not a victim.
Chester County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Provide Recourse for Workplace Discrimination
Women and men in all occupations face sexual discrimination, and the experienced Chester County employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help you fight unfair practices. For a free consultation, call us at 215-569-1999 or complete an online form today. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.