Summary: The National Football League filed a rebuttal on August 5 to the lawsuit filed by cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders on grounds of labor laws violations.
The National Football League issued its first formal response to the lawsuit filed by Oakland Raiders cheerleaders, according to NBC Bay Area. The NFL said that the women cannot pursue their claims that they should be paid minimum wage because the league is “immune from all state Labor Code provisions” in California.
The rebuttal for the NFL was filed on August 5 in Alameda County Superior Court. The league argues that since the California Supreme Court ruled players cannot file antitrust claims against teams in the league, then the league is also immune from the laws.
Director of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University, John Logan, said, “This is a very sweeping claim. It’s surprising and probably not one that the courts are likely to agree with.”
The league is not arguing whether or not the cheerleaders were paid fairly, but that the “straightforward labor dispute” should be between the Raiders and the cheerleaders and not involve the NFL.
The attorneys for the NFL are Debra Fischer and Dale Barnes from the law firm of Bingham McCutchen. They wrote in the rebuttal that the league is not immune from all labor laws, but it cannot be “constitutionally burdened with challenges brought under divergent state legislation.”
The NFL said that those divergent laws would “disrupt and have a significant impact on the whole league fabric, not just on the state’s one or two teams.”
“National sports leagues are ‘unique,'” the lawyers wrote. And the claims that wages are “depressed”…”would constitute an impermissible burden on interstate commerce and must be dismissed.”
The lawyer representing the cheerleaders is Drexel Bradshaw, from the firm of Bradshaw and Associates PC.
“There is no logical limit to their argument,” Bradshaw said. “If what they say is true, then no employee of any club team is afforded protections. That means anyone who is not a player – coaches, custodian, secretaries, groundskeepers, no one would be treated as a legitimate employee.”
Fischer told NBC Bay Area the following: “Every employee of the Raiders is entitled to all appropriate protections under California law. The assumption of the plaintiffs’ lawyer is that if they cannot successfully sue the NFL, then non-player team employees don’t have such protections. Of course they do, from the team. The team is their employer, not the NFL.”