Mardi Gras Management, Inc. and the company’s CEO and CFO are facing two former employees’ claims that the parties violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The defendants operate an adult entertainment club in Atlanta, the suit says, at which the plaintiffs worked as entertainers.
Despite maintaining a strict level of control over their job duties, the defendants classified the plaintiffs as independent contractors and denied them proper wages, the case says. According to the lawsuit, the defendants required entertainers to follow written rules of conduct, work a minimum number of shifts per week, wear costumes, and charge consumers set prices for their services. In exchange, the defendants supposedly paid the plaintiffs and other entertainers no wages, making tips their only means of compensation. The lawsuit argues that the club was not entitled to apply a tip credit to dancers’ wages because it required them to share portions of their tips with the disc jockey and withheld their credit card tips for sometimes more than 90 days. Further, the plaintiffs claim they weren’t paid for time they spent preparing for their shifts to adhere to the defendants’ dress requirements, which typically exceeded one hour per shift.
Moreover, the plaintiffs were required to pay various unlawful fees that further decreased their wages, the suit alleges, including a $50.00 fine if they left their shifts early and a “house fee” that varied depending on the time of day. The suit claims these fees constituted illegal kickbacks under the FLSA and resulted in dancers’ wages falling below the law’s mandated rates:
“The various fees charged by Mardi Gras to Plaintiffs and the collective action members caused their wages to drop below the minimum wage and the applicable overtime wage during workweeks in which Plaintiffs and the collective action members worked overtime.”