Five former Houston Texans are suing over harassment claims and unfair pay practices, saying they lived in fear with minimal wages.
It’s the latest group of NFL cheerleaders to file a lawsuit against their respective teams over working conditions, CNN Money reported. Cheerleaders from the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills have also sued their teams requesting fair pay. A cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints sued over gender discrimination, which the team denied. The Buccaneers, Raiders, Bengals and Jets all reached settlements in their cases.
“We were harassed, we were bullied and we were body-shamed for $7.25 an hour,” Ainsley Parish, a former Texans cheerleader among the five suing, said during a press conference. The Texans cheerleaders’ attorney, Gloria Allred, added that the women were harassed, intimidated and threatened with termination if they spoke out.
The cheerleaders were allegedly also not allowed to speak or interact with players and were not compensated for public appearances they made as cheerleaders without transportation or security provided. One of the cheerleaders said she was assaulted by a fan and told to “suck it up and act like nothing had happened,” Allred said.
“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. We are constantly evaluating our procedures and will continue to make adjustments as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone,” the Texans said in a statement provided to CNN Money.