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Fired cheerleader files discrimination lawsuit against Saints

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader says the team discriminated against her when it fired her for breaking workplace rules.

Bailey Davis told Ken Belson of the New York Times she was fired for team violations that she disputes. She was accused of breaking a social media policy that prohibits cheerleaders from posting photos of themselves in the nude or semi-nude, or in lingerie. She was also accused of attending a party with Saints players.

As a result, Davis has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the team have having separate rules for its male players and female cheerleaders.

The Times reviewed team literature, including the Saints' handbook for cheerleaders, and determined the team has a policy that requires its cheerleaders to avoid any form of communication with players, both in person and online. However, the players are not punished for doing the same.

Cheerleaders are instructed to block players from following their social media accounts and are prohibited from dining at the same restaurant as a player. Players are not given the same instructions.

"If the cheerleaders can't contact the players, then the players shouldn't be able to contact the cheerleaders," Davis' lawyer, Sara Blackwell, said. "The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace."

The Saints responded to The Times via email, stating that the organization strives to treat all employees fairly.

"At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization's policies and workplace rules," said Leslie A. Lanusse, lawyer for the Saints. "For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender."

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