On Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring professional sports teams to offer cheerleaders minimum wage, workers’ compensation, paid sick leave and rest breaks.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), a former cheerleader at Stanford University who authored the bill, AB202, argued that the benefits of the bill should not be restricted to cheerleaders in her state, telling The Los Angeles Times, “Obviously [the law] protects the cheerleaders in California, but this is a nationwide problem.” The bill stipulates that stipulates that professional cheerleaders should be considered employees, not independent contractors.
Brown also empathized with the cheerleaders, having performed as a cheerleader at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco.
In April, Gonzales stated, “AB202 simply demands that any professional sports team–or their chosen contractor–treat the women on the field with the same dignity and respect that we treat the guy selling beer. NFL teams and their billionaire owners have used professional cheerleaders as part of the game day experience for decades. They have capitalized on their talents without providing even the most basic workplace protections like a minimum wage.”
AB202 was supported by The California Employment Lawyers Association, California Labor Federation, and Consumer Attorneys of California. The bill follows lawsuits filed by cheerleaders against the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Jets.