Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders Sue Team Over Payment Practices

Suit says women worked hundreds of unpaid hours

WGRZJills plaintiffs Maria P. (left) and Alyssa U.

Five Buffalo Bills cheerleaders (known as the Buffalo Jills) are suing the team over a failure to pay them in accordance with New York State minimum wage laws, allegedly forcing them to work hundreds of unpaid hours and subjecting them to degrading treatment--including a "jiggle test," which, unfortunately, is exactly what it sounds like.

One plaintiff told WGRZ that making the team was a dream come true, but the reality that shortly followed was a nightmare. According to the suit, the Jills are wrongly classified as independent contractors, and their pay routinely violates the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law. They're also asked to work games, practices, and dozens of charity appearances for free, as well as pay for their $650 uniforms and cover their own travel expenses.

It's the third suit this year filed by cheerleaders against a National Football League team, following pending wage battles with the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.

"If you are under the control of an entity, we can call them your employer and you're an employee," Frank Dolce, the plaintiff's attorney, told WGRZ. "We don't want any hokey games as trying to portray somebody as an independent contractor to sidestep and avoid minimum standards that we have in our state."

Dolce added that the fact that the woman were asked to conduct themselves in accordance with team policies even when they weren't working undermined their classification as contractors. It allegedly went as far as controlling their hair and nail polish color, and what they could post on Facebook.

Beyond questions of payment, the suit describes "demeaning and degrading treatment" like being required to wear bikinis at an annual golf tournament where the cheerleaders were "auctioned off like prizes."

Plaintiff Alyssa U. (the plaintiffs are only identified by their first names and last initials) described the aforementioned "jiggle test" cheerleaders were asked to perform for Stephanie Mateczun, the president of Stejon Production Corp., which manages the Jills.

"Everything from standing in front of us with a clipboard having us do a jiggle test to see what parts of our body were jiggling," she the Associated Press . "And if that was something that she saw, you were getting benched."

The suit against the Bills seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees, and also names Stejon along with former manager Citadel Communications Co.

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Seems odd that they'd be surprised by some of the behaviors. Those are pretty standard for cheerleaders (nails, jiggle test, buying your own uniform). The low pay is something they might have a better point on, though they did know that going in. If they win, future cheerleaders will be working as strict volunteers.

April 24 2014 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you work you should make at least minimum wage, period. I hope all these women win their lawsuits.

April 24 2014 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

2 4 6 8, who do we appreciate!! jiggle jiggle

April 24 2014 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's an idea... if they don't like it... QUIT!!! Rely on what they learned in college or go back to school for a real career. They wanted to be a cheerleader for the prestige... that's all a part of it!

April 23 2014 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

EASILY the hottest cheerleaders in the NFL! And I've seen them all!

April 23 2014 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why in the world would all these beautiful women work for minimum wage anyway??

April 23 2014 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Too bad they didn't give them spankings if their nail polish was chipped.

April 23 2014 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to selitwin's comment

I did!

April 23 2014 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who signed the lawsuit for them? I doubt these bimbos can read or write.

April 23 2014 at 7:14 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

For them: the world's smallest violin.

April 23 2014 at 5:54 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Fire them and replace them with grateful, overweight women. After all, the new thing is that women should not be judged by their bodies. That is called a war on women.

April 23 2014 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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