Bills cheerleaders suspend operations amid lawsuit against workplace conditions

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Jills have suspended operations in the wake of a lawsuit against the Bills and the cheerleaders' management company.

Buffalo Bills cheerleaders won't be cheering on sidelines or at events in the foreseeable future. The company that manages the Buffalo Jills, Stejon Production, Corp., announced they have suspended operations after five former Jills cheerleaders filed a lawsuit against them, the Bills, and former management company Citadel Communications for unfair workplace conditions. Allegations include skimpy pay delivered in untimely fashion, sexual harassment and a notorious "Jiggle Test" used to evaluate physiques.

Stephanie Mateczun, president of Stejon Production, Corp., made the decision Thursday, two days after the lawsuit was filed. She declined to comment further, according to the New York Post, except to say that the company is in the process of hiring legal representation. The Bills are reportedly aware of the decision, but also declined to comment.

Frank Dolce, the lawyer representing the five women filing the lawsuit, said that he hopes that the women won't be blamed for the squads indefinite dissolution. Via the Post:

"If they cease operations, they will blame the lawsuit for the destruction of the Jills, when that was not intended at all," Dolce said, noting there is not much money at stake in the lawsuit.

"We love the Bills. We love the Jills," he said. "We do not love the travesty of its management that has occurred over the last few years."

SB Nation's Matt Verderame detailed the allegations Wednesday. Notably, the plaintiffs allege that they were not paid for practice time averaging out to eight hours per week, and were forced to work 20-35 charity and community events per season, many of which were unpaid. The wages they were paid were meager, and barely covered the approximately $650 they had to pay for their own uniforms. The women were also allegedly subject to degradation at events, including groping and sexual comments.

The "Jiggle Test" stood out for more salacious reasons. Matczun reportedly administered the test herself, scrutinizing the cheerleaders' stomachs, arms, legs, hips and butts while they did jumping jacks to determine whether they would be allowed to participate at upcoming games.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against NFL teams in the past. Earlier this year, cheerleaders with the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals also claimed woefully low payments and constant and overly harsh physical evaluations.

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