“Prolific wage abuse:” Former Bucks dancer files federal lawsuit; could impact all NBA dancers

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MILWAUKEE -- A former Milwaukee Bucks dancer has filed a federal lawsuit against the team -- demanding she be paid money she is owed. It is a lawsuit that could have an impact for dancers throughout the NBA.

Lauren Herington

Lauren Herington

Lauren Herington says she picked up her whole life and moved to Milwaukee after landing her dream job.

Now, she's making some serious accusations that could affect other NBA dancers.

Herington says from the age of three, she knew she wanted to be a dancer.

"It was a dream of mine, and something I worked my whole life for," Herington said.

Lauren Herington

Lauren Herington

In 2013, at the age of 19, the central Illinois native found herself moving five hours from home after landing a job as an NBA dancer with the Milwaukee Bucks.

"Obviously it was an amazing experience," Herington said.

She says she had no idea dancing came with a price.

"It was quite clear as soon as the season started I was not going to be able to just devote my time to dancing and be able to support myself with that alone," Herington said.

A federal lawsuit was filed Thursday, September 24th. Herington is suing the Bucks for what her lawyers call "prolific wage abuse."

"As far as we know, this is a first lawsuit of its kind against an NBA team," Attorney Ryan Stephan said.

Stephan says the Bucks are taking advantage of their dancers.

Milwaukee Bucks dancers

Milwaukee Bucks dancers

Herington says she was paid $65 per game, $30 for practices, and $50 for special appearances.

Stephan says practices can last hours, and dancers are required to arrive at games hours early.

Milwaukee Bucks

The federal lawsuit says dancers are never paid overtime, and forced to pay for their own hair, makeup and even uniform dry cleaning.

"We think there are certain weeks where Ms. Herrington`s hourly rate fell to the $3/hour or $4/hour level," Stephan said.

A Milwaukee Bucks spokesman issued the following statement to FOX6 News:

“We take these issues seriously and are looking into the matter. At this time we have not been served with a complaint and therefore are not in a position to comment further.”

Herington may have only danced with the Milwaukee Bucks for a year, but her time with the team could have an impact on the entire NBA.

14 comments

  • Opinion8d

    Didn’t the NFL cheerleaders have a similar issue?? Regardless, I think they told her ahead of time what she would be earning so it was no surprise what she would earn or the time involved. Women take the job because it’s a resume builder and may open up other opportunities for them. There is a line of 100 other women willing to do what it takes to be a NBA cheerleader. Sounds like buyers/job remorse to me……

  • .

    Sane people just go find another job. She agreed to this, now because she made a mistake someone else should pay, stupid fib.

  • Denise Dolinar Selje

    when i saw this leading the 9p news cast i thought it was a joke. really? this is real? who comes to a small market NBA team as a dancer and thinks you wont have to supplement your income? i would assume it would be common sense.. i mean, its no CA or NY franchise. Wow! maybe i’m overestimating her…but if i didn’t assume she had smarts and common sense id be stereotyping her. Hey, this is America…if you don’t like your job or your pay you have the freedom to search for another. this story is a joke IMO.

  • guiletta

    Im sure the NBA has contracts, you must sign before being hired. Including the amount you will get paid,ect. Why wait, until the new arena project is in the process? Seems like she is just trying to catch a good $$ settlement. The bucks are not even worth, the amount the new arena is costing WI taxpayers. No one in their right mind would have stayed in the job if you felt you were not getting paid what you “consider” is right.

  • Michael

    You are not an employee but instead you are a contract employee which at some point you agree to the set price to regardless of the hours you put in. You should have noticed it after the first paycheck and the contract you signed off on. You are there all that time and finally want to sue – how sad.

  • Opinion8d

    It’s not what the company can afford to pay her -no company operates that way. People are paid what they are worth in the marketplace. If there are 100 other women willing to do the work for her pay (really only need one though), than she is paid fairly. It’s a unique position given that it’s not a career for these women -it’s a stepping stone. You don’t pay an intern the same as a regular employee because it’s a resume builder/experience things for them……get a clue to how the real world works!!

  • Z

    Another patheic self-entitled millenial.

    “I didn’t get what I want! So I’m gonna stomp my foot and whine then sue you!”

    You don’t get hired without knowing what you will be paid. She accepted it and got burned. Lesson learned dummy. Why didn’t you go get a bartending job or something?

  • A.J.

    Should cheerleaders for professional sports teams make more? absolutely…. But in her case maybe she should get rid of the 2010 porsche she owns… That payment will clear some money for other things.

Comments are closed.