Ex-cheerleaders sue Houston Texans, allege brutal working conditions and harassment

NEW YORK -- Cheerleaders for the Houston Texans may seem to be having a blast on the sidelines. But five of the team's former cheerleaders now say they were forced to endure brutal working conditions, including harassment and unpaid hours, while the men on the field made millions.

On Friday, lawyer Gloria Allred filed a lawsuit on behalf of the women.

"They were told repeatedly that they were dispensable and disposable and that the surest way to be fired was to speak out," Allred said.

The suit alleges that when unpaid appearances are factored in, they earned "pennies for each hour worked," while suffering "hostile" scrutiny. In one case, coach Alto Gary is accused of telling the squad, "I see a lot of jiggle, jiggle," implying they were overweight. In another, she allegedly duct-taped down a cheerleaders skin, appearing to mock her size.

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A lawsuit alleges cheerleaders for Houston Texans faced harassment and unpaid hours CBS News

This is the second lawsuit by cheerleaders filed against the Texans in less than a month, and at least the fourth lawsuit or public complaint made by an NFL cheerleader in the past year, including incidents with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.

Just last month, former Washington Redskins cheerleaders described team sponsors invited to watch as the girls posed topless. In the new lawsuit, cheerleaders for the Texans describe being "paraded through the stadium, suite to suite."

The suit claims cheerleaders were often assaulted by fans during those stadium tours. In a statement, the Houston Texans said they're proud of their cheerleader program, though the team says it will "make adjustments as needed."