On January 14, 2014, a New York District Court approved a settlement on behalf of strippers who worked at the Penthouse Executive Club. The strippers had filed the lawsuit alleging that the club misclassified the dancers as independent contractors instead of employees, did not pay them wages, illegally required that they pay “house fees” and other types of fees and unlawfully took tips from them in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and New York law. The dancers sought unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, liquidated damages (“double damages”), and attorneys’ fees and costs. Over 1,000 dancers joined in the lawsuit and agreed to the settlement.
This case is another case in a long line of cases that are based upon a strip club’s failure to pay wages to its dancers. Typically, strip clubs have considered its dancers as independent contractors as opposed to employees. The clubs do not provide any wages to the strippers. Their only pay is comes from the tips they make from customers. However, the dancers are required to pay “house fees” to work each shift along with fees to the “house mom,” security, DJ, bartenders, etc. Courts around the country have found that dancers are actually employees – not independent contractors – and are therefore, entitled to an hourly wage for every hour worked. The FLSA permits dancers to go back at least 2 years to recover unpaid wages and permits successful plaintiffs to recover liquidated damages a/k/a “double damages” which double the amount a dancer can recover.
Martin & Martin, LLP handles cases on behalf of strippers. If you have danced at a club anytime within the last 3 years and were told by the club that you were an independent contractor – you could be entitled unpaid wages and liquidated damages. Dancers can get a fast, free consultation by contacting our firm.