Former NFL cheerleader files EEOC complaint

Arizona NFL fans may be aware that several teams have faced lawsuits from cheerleaders for violation of wage laws. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders settled while the Buffalo Bills got rid of their cheer team altogether after they were accused of violating minimum wage laws. In March 2018, the New York Times published an investigation into how the New Orleans Saints treats cheerleaders compared to players after a former cheerleader filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The woman was fired because of an Instagram post and because she allegedly went to the same party as a player although the latter accusation was never proved. According to the Times, some of the behaviors forbidden to cheerleaders but not players are keeping a social media account that was not private, posting photos online wearing Saints gear and going to the same nonapproved event as a player even if it is simply a meal in a restaurant.

The league has a personal conduct policy that is supposed to prohibit any discrimination based on sex or other protected characteristics. Based on the investigation of the Times, the regulations of the New Orleans Saints appear to be in violation of this policy although the organization issued a statement saying the cheerleader was not discriminated against.

People who think they are being discriminated against at work might want to consult an attorney. Discrimination may take many forms including denial of a apromotion, termination or hostile remarks in the workplace. The attorney may look at whether the actions constitute discrimination. This will include considering whether the behavior is based on a protected characteristic such as race, religion, sex, gender or other qualities. If it is, the first step might be to report the discrimination through the appropriate work channels.

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