Cincinnati Bengal Cheerleader Claims She Is Paid $2.85/Hour

A Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader is suing the NFL team for violating labor laws.

ByABC News
February 15, 2014, 7:25 AM

Feb. 15, 2014 — -- intro: A cheerleader for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals is suing the team, saying she is paid less than $2.85 an hour.

Alexa Brenneman, of Hamilton County, Ohio, accuses the Bengals of underpaying the Ben-gals cheerleaders, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law, which requires a minimum wage of $7.85 an hour.

In her lawsuit, filed on Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio, Brenneman worked more than 300 hours and appeared at 10 home games during the 2013 season, and was paid $855, or $2.85 an hour.

Last month, former and current cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders filed a lawsuit claiming similar violations of wage laws. The Raiders have not responded to's request for comment.

Read More: The Rules for Being an NFL Cheerleader May Surprise You

A spokesman for the Bengals provided a statement to, saying "The Ben-Gals cheerleading program has long been a program run by former cheerleaders and has enjoyed broad support in the community and by members of the squad. Yesterday's lawsuit appears to be a copycat lawsuit that mimics the one filed last month in California against a different NFL club. The Bengals will address the litigation in due course."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to comment about both lawsuits, saying the league is not involved with team cheerleaders.

Brenneman attached to her lawsuit a six-page exhibit that shows the "Cincinnati Ben-gal Rules," which her attorney said shows the degree of control the team has over the cheerleaders as employees.

"It also shows the consequences, including if, by God, you eat a pizza and crash the scales at a whopping 110 pounds versus 100 pounds, then you're benched," said Brenneman's attorney Jeffrey Goldenberg.

Goldenberg said the intent of attaching the rules was not to focus on "sensational and sexual" factors.

"It's about them earning about $2.85 an hour, and that's not right," he said, adding that other NFL cheerleaders are paid hourly and sometimes overtime by teams such as the Seattle Seahawks.

Watch: NFL Cheerleader Paid $2.85 an Hour, Lawsuit Claims

Here are some of the Ben-Gal rules, according to Brenneman's lawsuit:

quicklist:title: "Scale weight is recorded twice per week,"text: The rules state, "This data is collected to determine ideal weight."

"You are given a 3 lb. leniency weight. (example - if your goal weight is 114, you are allowed to weigh in at 117 without being considered over)," the rules state.

quicklist:title: Consequences of passing 3 lbs.text: "If you are over your 3 lb. leniency weight, you will be required to stay 30 minutes after practice for extra conditioning. Additionally, at management's discretion, you can/will be pulled from your position and possibly not considered for charity/paid events."

quicklist:title: "Glamour Evaluation"text: "Ideal weight and recommendations for physique improvements will be provided in Glamour Evaluation," the lawsuit exhibit states. "Achieving these expectations is required. Failure to comply with evaluation may result in missed games and/or performance events."

quicklist:title: Mandatory practice and appearancestext: According to the lawsuit, Ben-Gals are required to attend at least six to eight mandatory weekly practices from late May through December and are required to appear at no fewer than 10 charity" functions a season. But Brenneman's lawsuit alleges that "charity" is "loosely defined to include not only traditional charities, but also promotional appearances serving no charitable purpose whatsoever."

quicklist: media: 22518382title: No to "panties" category:text: "No panties are to be worn under practice clothes or uniform, not even thong panties."

quicklist:title: Yes to pantyhosetext:

"Wear pantyhose to match skin tone (L'eggs). No Danskins/Dance type tights. No control top at practices or games. No exposed skin at ankles - pantyhose must extend down into socks," the rules state in the lawsuit.

quicklist:title: "No slouching breasts"text:

"No slouching breasts," the rules state in the lawsuit exhibit. "Support as needed. Black or nude seamless bra mandatory for games. (No lace)"

quicklist: media: title: Makeupcategory: text: "Stay away from frosted lip sticks and eye shadows," the rules state. "Management will determine your proper color analysis."

quicklist: media: title: No to curlerscategory:text: "No curlers. Hair must be neat and out of face on every occasion. Glamour is a priority!" the rules state.