The Peyton Manning era has been kind to the Indianapolis Colts.
After limping through the 1990s, the Colts drafted the former University of Tennessee quarterback back in 1998. And in the intervening 13 years, the Colts have become a premier team in the NFL, and even won the Super Bowl in 2007.
But in that same 13-year span, the Colts have paid its hostesses below minimum wage and off the books, according to a new lawsuit filed against the AFC team in the U.S. District Court for the Indianapolis Division of the Southern District of Indiana.
The lawsuit was filed by veteran hostess Colleen Fenstermaker, according to a report by the Courthouse News Service. Fenstermaker had worked part time as a hostess in the Colts' press box but was fired on Sept. 9. Her job description included handing out materials like stat sheets in the press box.
Upon being let go by the team, she filed a federal class action suit.
"The Colts have, for a long period of time, been paying Fenstermaker and the other hostesses significantly less than the minimum hourly wages due and owing to them for their work performed as required by the FLSA," the complaint puts it plainly, referring to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which protects a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
According to Fenstermaker, that amounts to a greater compensation than was provided for by the Colts. The hostesses have been given a stipend of sorts for their work, which began at $25 for a day of duty back in 1998 and now stands at $40 a day. But Fenstermaker asserts the hostesses would work a minimum of eight hours per game, which would require a salary of at least $58 in order to comply with federal standards.
Fenstermaker is seeking all unpaid minimum wages and "any and all other relief just and proper."
When contacted by AOL Jobs, the Colts front office had no comment while the matter was ongoing. A call placed to the Fenstermaker's legal representation, Robert Kondras of the Hunt Hassler & Lorenz law firm of Terre Haute, went unreturned.
Given their large bankrolls, professional sports franchises and their owners are no strangers to lawsuits. Back in 2006, the voluble owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder was sued by a former nanny, Juliette Mendonca, for underpayment. After Snyder was forced by the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland to pay out $44,880, he was recalled by Mendonca for comparing his private labor practices with that of his team, according to a report by The New York Times.
''I pay you more than my Redskins park people! I can't afford to pay you like this!'' she claimed that he said back in 2004.
As for the Colts, they have begun the season at a dismal 0-5. It's of course been of no help that Manning has been sidelined this year by neck injuries. And while initial reports said that the 35-year-old would be out for the whole season, a report this week from CBS News says it now looks possible Manning might be able to suit up before season's end.
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