Last Thursday former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader Malori Wampler filed a lawsuit against the team contesting her November 15, 2010, termination by club.
(Click-through photo is not-safe-for-work. Obviously.)
Wampler was fired after a Colts fan forwarded the club photos of her wearing only body paint at a 2010 Playboy Magazine promotional event.
According to the lawsuit, before Wampler took a job with the team she notified the Colts of her previous employment with Playboy - and the nature of that employment. The complaint also states that after Colts officials were informed of that fact, they determined that Wampler’s past employment by Playboy “was not an issue.”
But rather than merely contest the veracity of the team’s decision to fire her over the photos because it allegedly violated club policy, in the U.S. District Court filing Wampler’s attorney Kimberly D. Jeselskis also claimed, “The Colts terminated Wampler because of her sex” and “the Colts terminated Wampler because of her race and national origin.”
More from Wampler attorney Jeselskis in the U.S. District Court filing:
- Wampler met the Colts legitimate performance expectations.
- Wampler was treated differently than other “similarly situated” male and female employees.
- As a result of the Colts discriminatory acts, Wampler has suffered and will continue to suffer monetary damages and damages for mental anguish and humiliation unless and until the Court grants relief.
- The Colts acted with malice or reckless indifference to Wampler’s civil rights thereby entitling her to punitive damages. Wampler is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in this action.
Wampler claimed sexual discrimination in the lawsuit primarily because Colts players were not dismissed from the club despite engaging in off-field behavior that was allegedly much worse than what the Colts cited in firing her.
Wampler claimed racial discrimination after citing in the lawsuit instances where caucasian cheerleaders were not fired despite, again, engaging in off-field behavior that was worse than why she was apparently let go by the team. (Wampler is Indonesian.)
So what exactly does Wampler want from the Colts? From her attorney’s court complaint:
- Require the Colts to reinstate Wampler;
- Award all lost wages Wampler has sustained or will sustain as a result of the Colts conduct (Colts cheerleaders are paid $100 per game.)
- Awarding front pay in an amount equal to the wages that Wampler may reasonably be expected to lose after trial as a result of the Colt’s unlawful conduct should the Court determine that an order requiring the Colts to reinstate Wampler as a Colts Cheerleader is not feasible or appropriate;
- Awarding compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by a jury to make Wampler whole for the mental anguish, emotional distress and other non-pecuniary damages she has suffered because of the Colt’s unlawful conduct;
- Awarding punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury to punish the Colts for its unlawful conduct which was malicious or undertaken with reckless indifference to Wampler’s rights and to deter others from similar conduct
- Awarding the costs of maintaining this action, including an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees
On its face, it seems rather hypocritical that the Colts, who employ cheerleaders for their sex appeal and have them promote the team while scantily clad in public, would fire such an employee for wearing body paint at a promotional event in which she was not associated with the team.
Especially considering Wampler told the team of those previous activities before the club agreed to hire her.
Though her case is based on a seemingly salient point, Wampler probably won’t get much out of it unless the story gets national media attention. Especially from the entertainment media.
Then things might get more interesting than the current reason most people care about the case: ‘where can I find those body paint photos?‘