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On January 13, 2022, Martin & Martin, filed a federal lawsuit against Onyx Gentlemen’s Club in Atlanta on behalf of several strippers to recover owed wages and fees.  Onyx reopened in February, 2021 and classified its dancers as independent contractors as opposed to employees.  As independent contractors, Onyx did not pay the dancers any wages whatsoever.  Instead, all of the money received by the dancers were from tips from customers.  However, this was after the dancers paid a bar/shift fee, tip outs, house mom fees, etc.

Over the course of the last decade, federal courts around the country have found that dancers at strip clubs are employees — not independent contractors.  And, they have held that as employees, the dancers are entitled to $7.25 per hour for all hours worked and time and one-half for all overtime hours.  The determination of whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee is made on a factual case-by-case basis.  However, some specific items that courts look at are: does the company require the workers to follow any work rules?  Does the company schedule the worker?  Does the company cover the expenses of the club, stage, payment to DJs, security, etc.?

In our recently filed federal lawsuit, on behalf of our clients, we seek to recover $7.25 per hour for all hours work plus liquidated damages (aka double damages) and recovery of all fees paid to the club.  We also seek for Onyx to pay our attorney’s fees and expenses.  If you are or were a dancer at a club and not paid any wages, contact Martin & Martin to fight for your rights.

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Companies are requiring employees to be vaccinated with the stated purpose of wanting to protect other employees, customers and visitors. Employees are being made to choose between getting vaccinated or possibly losing their jobs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stepped in and identified two possible legal reasons an employee can claim in order to successfully challenge the mandate to be vaccinated. These are because of a disability (including pregnancy) or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. In these instances, the employee needs to request a reasonable accommodation which the employer should approve unless they successfully contend that to provide such a requested accommodation would work an undue hardship on the employer.  For more information on the EEOC’s guidance:

The following examples of possible reasonable accommodations for an unvaccinated employee entering the workplace include wearing a face mask, work at a social distance from coworkers or non-employees, work a modified shift, get periodic tests for COVID-19, be given the opportunity to telework, or finally, accept a reassignment.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that both private and federal employers in the United States pay hourly (non-exempt) workers overtime at a minimum of 1.5x’s the normal hourly rate for any hours past forty hours in a workweek.

Now that you know what consists of a workweek and how you accrue overtime, you may be ready to pick up some extra hours to pay for some extras during the holiday season. Hold that thought. There are types of workers who are exempted from the overtime requirement. Those workers are generally salaried and make at least $684 a week (as of September 24, 2019). Those people are:

  • Administrative Employees:
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Now that we’ve established the general mechanics of how you accrue overtime, you might have gone back to look at your previous paystubs and noticed that you haven’t been paid the overtime that you were due as an hourly worker. The Fair Labor Standards Act and subsequent legal precedent accounted for such circumstances where employers withhold wages that hourly employees rightfully earned, and you can’t be fired for taking the steps to remedy your situation. Your options include:

  • Talk to your employer: This may seem like an obvious answer, but the first thing you should do if you think overtime wages have been withheld from you is to talk to your employer to make sure it wasn’t a mistake that they’d be inclined to resolve without outside intervention.
  • File a Complaint with an Administrative Agency: So talking to your employer didn’t work out. The next step is to file a complaint with some administrative agency (Ie. The Department of Labor or its equivalent in your State). Most agencies require a written complaint, after which they’ll start an investigation to figure out if overtime rules were violated and seek a remedy on the behalf of both the employee and the employer. Generally, you’ll receive back pay for any withheld wages, however….
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Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

With the holidays around the corner, many hourly workers are thinking about picking up extra shifts to supplement their normal income to pay for the festivities of the holiday season. Before you do that, especially if you’re a part-time worker, here’s how those hours in a workweek work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that both private and federal employers in the United States pay hourly workers overtime at a minimum of 1.5x’s the normal hourly rate for any hours worked past forty in a workweek. While that workweek does have to have seven days, it does not have to match up to the standard Calendar week. For purposes of knowing if you, as an hourly worker, are supposed to receive overtime, it is important to know from what days your job’s workweek runs.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulates the labor practices of both private and federal employers in the United States. It was enacted to ensure that U.S. employers kept a fair and safe work environment for employees.

Included in this act are the bare minimum requirements for how employers must pay their employees. Those requirements include overtime pay for employees who have worked more than forty hours in a workweek.

The FLSA requires that hourly workers be paid overtime of, at minimum, 1.5x’s the normal hourly rate of their job. That means that even if you’re a minimum-wage worker ($7.25 per hour at the time of this writing), you’re entitled to at least 1.5x’s that rate ($10.875) for every hour that you work over forty hours.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the law that governs the pay of employees in the United States.  It requires that companies pay its employees at least minimum wage and at least time and a half for all hours over 40 in a given workweek.  In order to get around this requirement, many employers classify their employees as independent contractors.  Unlike employees, independent contractors are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, protection under the Family Medical Leave Act, Title VII, etc.  Therefore, if your company is misclassifying you as an independent contractor when you are truly an employee, you could be missing out on a lot of owed compensation and benefits.


The U.S. Department of Labor states that the general rule of thumb is “most workers are employees – not independent contractors.”  Courts look at several factors to determine if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor.  If your job fits into just one of the below “employee” categories, you may be misclassified as an independent contractor and entitled to compensation.


Do any of the below “employees” statements apply to you?


Employees: Independent Contractors:
Not allowed to hire other workers to perform job Allowed to hire other workers to perform job
Employer controls how the worker performs the work Worker controls how they perform the work
Worker typically only performs the work for one company Worker can perform similar jobs for multiple companies
Worker does not have an opportunity to make more money by working more efficiently Worker has an opportunity to make more money by performing job more efficiently
Worker uses equipment and supplies given to them from their employer Worker provides his own equipment, supplies, uniform, truck, etc.
The work performed is not a specially skilled job Worker provides a specific special skill to perform the work
Worker is employed for an indefinite period of time or for a longer period of time like other employees Worker performs the work for a shorter, set period of time
The work performed is needed to run the company The work performed is not integral to the business but more likely a specific, special job
Worker is bound by company rules like other employees
The worker is trained to perform the work by the company



If Your Employer Misclassified You As An Independent Contractor, You Could Be Entitled To Compensation

If any of the above statements in the “employee” column apply to your job, you may be misclassified as an independent contractor and entitled to minimum wage, overtime, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.   your overtime pay at a rate of 1 ½ of your regular rate for the time period of the

In order to recover these damages, you would be required to file a lawsuit.  Overtime lawsuits can also be filed as a collective or class action which permits other similar employees join the case to recover their overtime as well.   This permits employees a way for pursuing relatively small claims together that could otherwise be too costly.

If It’s Not Right, You Have To Fight!  At Martin & Martin, our Atlanta wage attorneys successfully represent employees like you every single day.  You worked hard for your pay, let us work hard to get you what you are owed.  Please contact us online or call us at (404) 831-8721 for a free consultation.


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The general rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for overtime is: All Employees Are Entitled To Overtime.  Under 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(2), employers must pay employees at least one and one-half times their regular pay rate for all hours over 40 in a workweek.  There are, however, three main exceptions or “exemptions” to this general rule: bona fide executive, administrative, and professional.  The most litigated exemption is the administrative exemption.

Pursuant to the federal regulations, an employee fits within the administrative exemption of the FLSA if the employee is:

  • Compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week;
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On March 3, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a press release regarding its enforcement initiative in the hospitality/restaurant industry in “college towns” stating that many companies are in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) wage and hour laws.  The DOL has collected almost $100,000 for workers who were not paid properly.

During the investigation, the DOL found that because hospitality jobs are likely filled by students, temporary, or foreign workers who are often unfamiliar with wage laws.  Additionally, it found that language barriers, fear of retaliation, and fears of immigration status can cause these individuals to not exercise their rights allowing companies to take advantage of them.

Some of the violations found by the DOL include:

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On February 09, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against Apollo Industries and individually against the plant supervisor alleging that they failed to pay employees at least minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) and legally required overtime.   The DOL alleges that the company only paid workers “straight time” for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek as opposed to time and a half of their regular hourly rates of pay.  The DOL also alleges that for some of the hours that the employees worked, the company failed to compensate the workers at least $7.25 per hour.

In filing the federal FLSA lawsuit, the DOL is seeking to recover unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation for over 190 employees since February 10, 2012 and an equal amount of liquidated damages.  Liquidated damages are also referred to as “double damages” because, if awarded, the Court can double the amount that is owed to the employees.

For more information about the FLSA, minimum wage or overtime, contact us.  Additionally, for more information on the Apollo Industries case, see the DOL’s recent press release.

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