SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — The secret handbook for Raiderettes was leaked to the press last week. It details many of the so-called ‘unfair labor practices’ enumerated in the recent lawsuit filed by Raider cheerleader, ‘Lucy T.’
The leak has sparked outraged from some women who say the language in the handbook is demeaning, sexist, condescending, and illegal.
The handbook covers everything from personal grooming to personal conduct. Much of the advice dealing with looks and manners echos tips found in most etiquette books — always look your best, smile, shake hands, make eye contact, don’t turn your nose up at food you don’t like.
The lawsuit, filed last month, seeks to be certified as a ‘class-action’ and claims Raiderettes are underpaid. It says they make about $1250 per season which amounts to about $5 per hour, a violation of the state’s minimum wage law.
The suit also alleges the women are fined for lateness, missed rehearsals and absenteeism. The language in the handbook explains:
“If you miss a Saturday rehearsal or weekday rehearsal (as in the final rehearsal prior to a game day performance), you will not be allowed to cheer that game. This means you will be fined 1 1/2 absences for the missed rehearsal and $125 will be deducted from your end of season pay for not performing on that game day. You will be notified if you are required to perform the pre-game and/or halftime routine and then remain in the dressing room for the duration of the game…Since three lates equal one absence and missing any rehearsal before a game is 1 1/2 absences, you can find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season.”
On the subject of how to conduct themselves with the players and the public, the handbook says:
“There’s not a female alive (or male either) who doesn’t like attention. But you need to learn to deal with attention you receive from the public (and especially the players) without it getting out of hand and going to your head.”
Partying with the players is strictly forbidden. In capital letters, the handbook says,
“RAIDERETTES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ATTEND PARTIES AT PLAYERS’ HOMES…FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DATE A PLAYER OR FORMER PLAYER, MAKE SURE HE UNDERSTANDS THAT PLAYER PARTIES ARE OFF LIMITS TO YOU.”
The handbook seems to imply that Raiderettes are dispensable. “Fans would come to see the games whether or not we had cheerleaders….some teams… because of morality problems with their squads… decided cheerleaders were too much trouble to deal with.” The women are cautioned not to fraternize with the players and front office staff or they will run the risk of ruined reputations and angering the players’ wives. “Make a point to find out if a player is married,” the handbook urges. “In most cases he won’t tell you!”
“Do not become the topic of conversation in the locker room and/or by the Raider staff. We eventually hear everything.” And to add insult to injury, “Ladies, whatever happens, it’s all your fault. And by all means, welcome to the team!”
So far, the lawsuit has prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. If the probe uncovers any wrongdoing, The Labor Department could slap the Raiders with a penalty for violating the federal government’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage law and other labor laws.
In the coming months there will be a Superior Court hearing on whether the lawsuit can be certified as class action.