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Former NFL Cheerleaders Allege Gender (Sex) Discrimination


Several gender discrimination claims filed against the NFL have made headlines of late as the victims who filed the claims offered to essentially settle for nothing if, in exchange, the league prepares a set of binding rules and regulations to apply to all NFL teams and the victims can have a “good faith” meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In addition, the agreement would bar teams currently with cheerleading squads to disband them in retaliation for whistleblowing for the at least the next five years.

The offer requests a response from the league by May 4th, and is the latest in a series of efforts to help raise awareness about the treatment of cheerleaders and associated civil rights issues. Many have complained of numerous issues that do not apply to others in the league, such as extremely low pay in spite of long hours, sexual harassment from fans, and inappropriate strict rules governing issues such as weight, appearance, and social media rules that raise red flags.

Discrimination Complaints

Aside from the litigation, some of these cheerleaders have filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, accusing management of having different standards when it comes to men and women and that they were discriminated against due to gender and/or religion. If the settlement is rejected, the complaints will continue through due process. According to one team’s handbook, there are anti-fraternization policies that require cheerleaders to avoid fraternization with players (note: the same policy does not exist for the players). The cheerleaders are also required to block players from following them on social media, and are not allowed to post pictures of themselves in their uniforms. Again, the players are not required to follow any of these same rules.

Strategic Settlement Offer

The NFL has responded by indicating that it supports fair employment practices and will work to ensure that they are fully compliant with state and federal laws when it comes to a positive and respectful environment free from discrimination and harassment. Still, the cheerleaders’ settlement offer is strategic, and puts the NFL on the spot regarding whether it is serious about ensuring a “positive” and “respectful” environment when it comes to the rights of NFL cheerleaders by essentially offering to drop the claims entirely if they make good on their stated commitment to discrimination-free work environments.

Florida Civil Rights Lawyer

Certain acts motivated by gender constitute civil rights violations. These include discriminatory hiring practices, sexual harassment, and related discrimination. It is illegal to treat people differently based upon their gender or religion. The criminal defense lawyers at the Baez Law Firm can help you put together a case against those who have discriminated against you. Contact us today to find out more.


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