Texans Cheerleader Seeks Pay for Tanning, Tweeting, Other Duties

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By Jon Steingart

A former Houston Texans cheerleader alleges in a lawsuit that the NFL team didn’t compensate her for all her required job activities.

Other teams have been the subject of recent claims by cheerleaders. In April, former New Orleans Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis said she would take $1 and a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to settle a discrimination charge in which she claimed female cheerleaders were subject to a more restrictive social media and fraternization policy than male players.

In 2014, the Oakland Raiders agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit in which cheerleaders said they weren’t paid for all hours worked or reimbursed for all required business expenses.

The former Texans cheerleader, who goes by the name P.G.G. in the complaint, says she was required to tweet using a team-owned Twitter account, respond to emails and other forms of electronic communications, and spend time at the gym and in a spray tan booth, but she wasn’t paid for these activities. She filed the lawsuit as a collective action, which is a procedure for litigating federal pay claims with multiple plaintiffs that’s similar to a class action.

Cheerleading team coach Altovise Gary, who is also named as a defendant, retaliated against cheerleaders for trying to improve their working conditions by berating them and cutting them from the squad, P.G.G. said.

A Houston Texans representative didn’t directly address the pay claims in a statement to Bloomberg Law.

“We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community,” Amy Palcic, the Texans’ vice president of communications, said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg Law May 22. “We are constantly evaluating our procedures and will continue to make adjustments as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone.”

Bruse Loyd with Jones, Gillaspia & Lloyd LLP in Houston represents P.G.G. An attorney hasn’t entered an appearance for the Texans.

The case is P.G.G. v. Houston NFL Holdings, L.P., S.D. Tex., No. 4:18-cv-01662, complaint filed 5/21/18.

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