Strip Club Violates FLSA--Judge Rules Exotic Dancers are Not Independent Contractors
May 27, 2011
Our Santa Ana, California labor and employment attorneys recently discussed a $10 Million California class action lawsuit, where exotic dancers in California and other states around the country sued their employers for employee misclassification--claiming that they were improperly misclassified as independent contractors while working at the club, and forced to divide up their tips to pay for stage fees, and other club employees.
In a related case, an exotic men's club in Washington D.C. named The House, was recently found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by a U.S. District judge, for failing to pay exotic dancers minimum wage. According to the lawsuit, filed in 2009, the strip club dancers were paid around $40 for a ten-hour dancing shift, and also had late fees, stage fees and sick days deducted from the their wages.
The House, a strip club that claims to feature nude dancers, reportedly tried to fight back against the lawsuit by claiming that the dancers were independent contractors, and weren't eligible for minimum wage benefits under the Fair Labor Standards Act. But the dancers claim that they were wrongly classified as "independent contractors" rather than "employees" and that they should have been paid proper wages and received access to employee benefits under state and federal wage and hour laws.
According to Judge Beryl Howell, the dancers should be considered employees, as the exotic club exercised a significant amount of control over the dancers' work. The judge found that several other federal courts have recently found dancers to be employees under the labor laws of the FLSA, and not independent contractors. Judge Howell reportedly stated that the dancers deserve liquidated damages.
Contact our Oceanside, California labor and employment attorneys today, for a free consultation about your wage and hour issue.
Judge Slams Club for Underpaying Strippers, Courthouse News Service, May 4 2011
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Related Blog Posts:
DOL's Smartphone App Could Reduce Wage Theft, Overtime Disputes, California Employment Lawyers Blog, May 25, 2011
Exotic Dancers Could Get $10M in California Class Action Employment Misclassification Lawsuit Settlement, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 27, 2011