A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader has filed a discrimination complaint against the NFL team with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Bailey Davis' case was detailed in a New York Times article on Sunday. It says she was fired after posting a photo of herself to her private Instagram account. It showed her in an outfit that the Saints said violated team rules against its cheerleaders appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie. The Times also says the team was looking into whether she attended a party attended by Saints players -- a rule violation Davis denies.
Her EEOC complaint states the team has two sets of rules: one for the cheerleaders, who are all women; another, for the players.
The New York Times report said the Saints anti-fraternization policy requires cheerleaders to avoid contact with players, in person or online, even though players are not penalized for pursuing such engagement with cheerleaders. The cheerleaders must block players from following them on social media and cannot post photos of themselves in Saints gear. The same rules don't apply to players, the report said.
"If the cheerleaders can't contact the players, then the players shouldn't be able to contact the cheerleaders," said Sara Blackwell, Davis's lawyer. "The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace."
A team lawyer said in an email to the newspaper that Davis was not subjected to gender discrimination.
"The Saints organization strives to treat all employees fairly, including Ms. Davis," Leslie A. Lanusse, a lawyer who is representing the Saints, said in an email. "At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization's policies and workplace rules. For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender."