Exotic dancers who weren't paid by the strip clubs where they worked.
What's Going On?
A number of lawsuits have been filed alleging that strip clubs are calling their dancers "independent contractors" – instead of employees – and therefore not paying them hourly wages on top of their tips. The lawsuits claim that this violates state and federal labor laws.
Strippers across the country are filing class action lawsuits alleging that they are employees – not independent contractors – and should be receiving hourly wages in addition to their tips.
Many of these class actions have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements, with dancers at one Atlanta-area strip club receiving more than $21,000 each.
What You Can Do
If you’re not getting paid a direct, hourly wage, you may be able to start a class action with the other dancers at your club. More and more courts are finding that exotic dancers are employees and not independent contractors – and awarding millions of dollars in unpaid wages.
Why Would the Club Call Me an Independent Contractor If I’m Not One?
Businesses can save a lot of money by misclassifying someone as an independent contractor.
Companies that hire independent contractors instead of employees do not have to pay for:
Workers’ compensation insurance
Social Security taxes
In addition, independent contractors do not have the rights and benefits typically afforded to regular employees, including sick pay, maternity leave, rest breaks, minimum wage, overtime, and protection against discrimination and sexual harassment. They also don’t qualify for health benefits as employees under the Affordable Care Act.
So, Am I an Independent Contractor or an Employee?
It’s important to remember that just because the strip club calls you an independent contractor doesn’t mean you actually are one. It’s up to the law to decide.
One of the main factors in making the distinction between employee and independent contractor is whether the business has the right to control the work you do and how you do it. The more control the business has, the less likely it is that you’re an independent contractor.
The class action lawsuits are alleging that strippers are employees and not independent contractors because the clubs:
Require their dancers to dress in a certain way
Dictate the hours strippers must work
Decide what each dancer can charge her clients
Control the themes of dancers’ performances
Require their dancers to comply with certain check-in and check-out procedures
Control how much the dancers must turn over in “house fees,” “DJ fees” and “mom fees”
As a result, the suits claim that exotic dancers are employees and should be earning direct, hourly wages.
Have These Lawsuits Been Successful?
Yes. Some recent settlement agreements include:
$13 million settlement for strippers at Spearmint Rhino in California
$8 million settlement for dancers at Penthouse Executive Club, based in New York
$6 million settlement for strippers at Florida- and Ohio-based Scarlett’s Cabaret
$2.3 million settlement for strippers at Jaguars Gold Club in Dallas
$1.55 million settlement for dancers at Onyx in Atlanta