Following a lawsuit filed by the Oakland Raiderettes cheerleaders (who cheer for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders), California enacted a new law that says pro cheerleaders must be treated like team employees and paid accordingly. The Raiders settled the class action suit with the Raiderettes last year for $1.25 million. The new law requires all professional teams in California to pay at least minimum wage to their cheerleaders.
Cheerleaders for professional sports teams have long been like avid Twitter users: they do it mainly for exposure, not compensation. (The Raiderettes contended that they were paid about $5 an hour.) Cheerleading, like Twitter, has been positioned as a platform — a resume builder — from which cheerleaders can hope to launch a more lucrative career. Successful singer, dancer and choreographer Paula Abdul is the example many point to — she used to be a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers.