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New York Jets Accused in Suit of Underpaying Cheerleaders

New York Jets Flight Crew cheerleaders perform during the second half of a game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on November 3, 2013. Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Getty Images
New York Jets Flight Crew cheerleaders perform during the second half of a game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on November 3, 2013. Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Jets were sued and accused of paying cheerleaders less than minimum wage, becoming the fourth National Football League team to face such claims.

A former member of the team’s “Flight Crew,” a Connecticut woman identified in court papers only as Krystal C., sued yesterday in New Jersey Superior Court in Hackensack, saying the team “historically and currently” underpays its cheerleaders while paying millions to its players.

“The cheerleaders are required to work ‘off the clock’ at home, attend rehearsals three days a week from May through December without pay, attend ‘charity events’ without pay, and are required to spend their own money on travel, uniform maintenance and cosmetic and hairstyling requirements set by the Jets,” the woman said in the complaint.

Similar lawsuits were filed against the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders.

Bruce Speight, a spokesman for the Jets, declined to comment on the suit. Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, said the league doesn’t comment on team litigation.

Jets cheerleaders are paid $150 a game and $100 for each special event, which comes to only $3.77 an hour when rehearsals and other unpaid work is considered, and goes below $1.50 an hour when hair, makeup and transportation expenses are considered, lawyers for Krystal C. said in a statement.

The woman was a member of the Flight Crew from June 2012 until the end of the December 2013. She is seeking class-action status for the case.

The case is Krystal C. v. New York Jets LLC, New Jersey Superior Court, Bergen County (Hackensack).

To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net; Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net; Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net. Charles Carter, Stephen Farr

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