The Buffalo Jills, the collective group of cheerleaders who used to cheer and perform for the Buffalo Bills, received a victory from the New York State Appellate Division when the court ruled the Jills’ cheerleaders can pursue a class action lawsuit against both the Bills and the National Football League.
The Jills, who suspended operations on April 24, 2014, amidst claims that their cheerleaders were underpaid and mistreated on the job, are suing both the Bills and the NFL in an attempt to recover what they say are hundreds of hours in unpaid wages and other Labor Law violations. The suit originated in 2014 by four women who cheered for the Jills between 2009 and 2014.
In the lawsuit, the former Jills claim they were wrongly categorized as “independent contractors” when they performed their routines, rather than being classified as team employees.
Their lawsuit also alleges the cheerleaders did not receive any compensation for their work cheering on the Bills, and that they did not receive payment after logging hundreds of hours of practice time preparing for the team’s games. They also claim they were not compensated for charity work performed as members of the Jills.
The Appellate panel in Rochester ruled unanimously to affirm Justice Timothy J. Drury Jr.’s decision to grant class certification to the Jills and their past cheerleaders, numbering 134 past members.