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California lawmakers pass bill classifying pro sports cheerleaders as team employees

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A bill currently before California Governor Jerry Brown would make clear that cheerleaders for state-based professional sports teams are employees, following high-profile lawsuits alleging labor violations in the state and elsewhere around the country.

The bill, which would add a section to the state’s labor code specifying that cheerleaders are team employees, passed the state Senate by a margin of 26 to 6 on Monday after easily clearing the Assembly.

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It was not immediately clear what action Brown would take. His office generally does not comment on pending legislation and Brown has a little over a week left to decide, his press secretary, Evan Westrup, said.

“Everyone who works hard to provide a great game day experience deserves the same basic level of dignity and respect on the job, starting with simply being paid for their work,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who authored the bill, said in a statement after it passed.

The legislation aims to guarantee employee rights, like minimum wage and employment protections, for workers who perform “acrobatics, dance, or gymnastics” at team events and games.

The bill was introduced in January, just months after the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, based in Oakland, California, agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 90 members of the team’s cheerleading squad.

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The performers alleged they were underpaid or faced lengthy delays in receiving their wages in violation of state labor law, in the first of its kind lawsuit against the NFL.

A wave of similar suits followed against other NFL franchises last year, including the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets, over unfair pay.

A similar bill was proposed in New York state last month after five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders sued the franchise for wage theft, according to the local Journal News.

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The so-called Buffalo Jills have been on hiatus since the filing last April and did not perform at any of their team’s games last year, the Journal News said.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Leslie Adler)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Federal judge overturns ObamaCare’s transgender protections, because Jesus

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A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has overturned the protections written into ObamaCare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people.

On Tuesday Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush, "vacated an Obama-era regulation that prohibited providers and insurers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy," The Hill reports.

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Sanctuaries protecting gun rights and the unborn challenge the legitimacy and role of federal law

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In June 2019, the small Texas town of Waskom declared itself a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”

Waskom’s city council passed an ordinance that labels groups – like Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others – that perform abortions or assist women in obtaining them “criminal organizations.”

The ordinance borrows from a similar resolution passed in March by Roswell, New Mexico. Unlike the merely rhetorical Roswell resolution, however, the Texas law bans most abortions within city limits. There are no abortion providers in the town, so it is not clear how the town would enforce the ordinance. It might, perhaps, deter an organization from opening a clinic.

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Quantum dots that light up TVs could be used for brain research

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While many people love colorful photos of landscapes, flowers or rainbows, some biomedical researchers treasure vivid images on a much smaller scale – as tiny as one-thousandth the width of a human hair.

To study the micro world and help advance medical knowledge and treatments, these scientists use fluorescent nano-sized particles.

Quantum dots are one type of nanoparticle, more commonly known for their use in TV screens. They’re super tiny crystals that can transport electrons. When UV light hits these semiconducting particles, they can emit light of various colors.

That fluorescence allows scientists to use them to study hidden or otherwise cryptic parts of cells, organs and other structures.

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