DALLAS — A former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader is taking America’s Team to court — claiming she and others on the squad were not paid fairly or equally.
The cheerleader, Erica Wilkins, was with the team from May 2014 to August 2017 according to a suit that was filed Tuesday in a Dallas federal court.
In the suit, Wilkins’ attorney said she was paid $8 an hour. However, the suit says that Wilkins was, “…not paid for all hours worked when paid on an hourly basis.”
The suit goes on to say that Wilkins wasn’t paid when she attended some meetings that were filmed for a reality show surrounding the storied cheerleaders that aired on CMT called ‘Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.’
Also, the suit adds that Wilkins wasn’t paid for the time she spent posting on social media for the team—something Wilkins was instructed to do by Cowboys management.
During Wilkins’ duration with the team, she wasn’t paid what she was owed in overtime wages according to the filed documents.
One paragraph reads, “…Plaintiff was not paid time and one-half her regular rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 in each workweek during her employment with the defendant.”
Wilkins also alleges she wasn’t paid all of her minimum wages when she worked with the Cowboys.
The suit also says Wilkins and other cheerleaders weren’t paid fairly under the Equal Pay Act, which was passed in the 1960’s to abolish wage discrimination based on sex.
In the suit, it says ‘Rowdy’ the mascot was paid $25 an hour. Over three times what cheerleaders made.
Rowdy was often portrayed by a male, according to the suit.
The most Wilkins made a year working for the Cowboys was $16,516.01. Rowdy, however, made $65,000 a year, the suit says.
Wilkins is seeking damages in the amount of her unpaid overtime wages, minimum wages, and all damages allowed under the EPA.
WFAA reached out to the Cowboys for comment and a spokesperson for the organization said he didn’t have a response.
What Wilkins and her attorneys filed is a collective action lawsuit.
A collective action is unique to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which covers overtime wages, minimum wage, and the Equal Pay Act—her attorney told WFAA.
It’s a type of class action where people are only in it if they affirmatively join.
Which means if a judge grants conditional certification, recent cheerleaders would be notified and could join the suit to seek damages.
Earlier this month five former cheerleaders filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans alleging that they were only paid a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and that they were not paid even that amount for many of the hours that they worked.
They also alleged that they were bullied and placed in fear about asserting their rights because they were forced to work in a hostile workplace.