Five former Houston Texans cheerleaders are suing the team alleging sex discrimination and violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Attorney Gloria Allred filed the lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Texas in Houston on Friday morning.
It claims the Texans failed to compensate the cheerleaders for all hours worked and failed to pay minimum wage.
It also alleges assault by threat of bodily injury by the Texans cheerleaders coach Altovise Gary and not compensating the plaintiffs for using their images on calendars and other merchandise.
"Our clients have one thing in common in addition to their evident talent and ability,” Allred said at a news conference in northeast Houston. “They are all women, and I believe that they are being targeted and discriminated against because of their gender."
The five former cheerleaders ask to receive payment for the additional hours they worked but were not paid for as well as damages.
In an emailed statement, Texans spokeswoman Amy Palcic said:
"We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community. We are constantly evaluating our procedures and will continue to make adjustments as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone."