Todd Lebowitz Discusses NFL Cheerleaders' Employment and Benefit Status

News / February 5, 2018

Partner Todd Lebowitz is quoted in an article published Feb. 5, 2018, by Bloomberg BNA. The article, “NFL Cheerleaders’ Health Benefits on Sideline?,” discusses how the scope of coverage and compensation that NFL teams provide cheerleaders often is limited compared to others in the organization. Sometimes, Lebowitz explained, this is because cheerleaders have been classified by some clubs as independent contractors rather than employees.

Lebowitz told Bloomberg that there are “many different ways to handle” professional cheerleaders’ employment classifications, noting that some who are classified as employees may be part-time. They often pursue the sport in addition to the full-time jobs that cover their health insurance, he explained. “It's certainly possible that cheerleaders, because of what they do, could be classified as part-time employees who are not entitled to benefits even if they are employees,” he said.

After noting a rash of high profile misclassification lawsuits in 2014 and 2015, Lebowitz suggested that teams are likely reconsidering whether cheerleaders can be classified as independent contractors. “If a team wanted to make cheerleaders not employees, they'd have to be very thoughtful and careful about how they set that up,” Lebowitz said. He also added that he believes NFL teams have scrutinized cheerleader compensation and benefits since the highly publicized lawsuits. “I can't imagine being in an NFL front office after 2014, after all these lawsuits, and not re-evaluating how their cheerleaders were being paid,” he said. “I can't imagine there haven't been changes.”

Read the article (registration required).