It’s official—professional cheerleaders are now recognized as employees under California law. In July, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring California professional sports teams to pay their cheerleaders at least the minimum wage.
As employees, cheerleaders in that state will also be eligible for overtime, workers’ compensation, paid sick leave and other benefits.
The California bill was introduced in January 2015 amid controversy raised by a series of lawsuits filed against National Football League teams in 2014, in which current and former cheerleaders claimed that they were underpaid. NFL teams in Florida and California recently settled class-action lawsuits with their cheerleaders for six- and seven-figure sums, respectively.
Other states may soon follow suit as cheerleaders nationwide continue to file wage-and-hour lawsuits over alleged misclassification as independent contractors.