A former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader alleges in a federal court filing she was paid about a quarter of what the team mascot made.
Erica Wilkins seeks to recover wages – over the Cowboys’ alleged failure to pay minimum wage and for unpaid overtime – “and all other available damages” in violation of The Equal Pay Act and Fair Labor Standards Act, claims made in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Texas on Tuesday.
“They’re profiting off our images and our bodies that we work so hard to keep in shape,” Wilkins told WFAA-TV. "We put in so much work and not to be compensated fairly is really an injustice."
While Wilkins is the only named plaintiff, the lawsuit could cover other current and former cheerleaders “similarly situated.” Wilkins' lawsuit is the latest legal claim made by a former NFL cheerleader – and one that also likely has a scant chance at success since cheerleaders sign contracts that mandate such disputes be heard by an arbitrator.
Wilkins was a member of the Cowboys’ cheerleading squad from May 2014 through last August. In her two full calendar years with the team (2015-16), Wilkins claims she averaged $14,448 in annual compensation.
The team’s mascot, Rowdy, was paid about $65,000, according to the filing.