July 9, 2019—San Diego, CA. We just did a Google News search this morning for the term “Exotic Dancers” and found a whole lot of current lawsuits going for women’s right to be paid fair and correct wages. We’ve been championing the women’s rights to fair pay and calling to attention the massive problem going on across the US in men’s clubs.
Here’s the actual screen shot of the Google News page.
What’s the issue with Strip Clubs today?
Many clubs today will often seek to categorize the dancers as “independent contractors” rather than employees. This tactic allows these clubs to avoid following the rules set by the Fair Labor Standards Act, known as FLSA laws.
However, gentlemen’s clubs or stripper bars can’t just state that a dancer is an independent contractor and make it true – certain legal requirements must be met; otherwise, the dancer is actually an employee.
What Strip Clubs have been sued?
The most recent club to feel the legal heat is the famous Cheetah’s Club in Atlanta. They have now settled a number of lawsuits that were filed by former dancers who were exerting their rights to have a safe workplace, unfair labor practices and being subject to sexual harassment and assault.
Cheetah’s has now paid out of court at least $3.4 million in back wages and damages to settle out claims made from about 100 dancers. The payouts vary from claim to claim but averaged $22,000. Others received $2,000 to a whopping $110,000. Some claims were settled for an undisclosed amount.
Another headline sourced from the Orlando Sentinel, Jul 03, 2019 that reads: “Former Rachel’s exotic dancer claims she was never paid; lawyer says possibly ‘hundreds of girls’ affected”
This story focused on Courtney Barlow, of Apopka Florida, who claims she never received an hourly pay wage for over two years when she danced at Rachel’s. We looked at their website and found this under “Dancer Job Opportunity”.
“Rachel’s Palm Beach is interested in working with girls of all ages, who have dance abilities, great personalities and a positive attitude. Rachel’s Palm Beach is a first class men’s club and our ladies perform lap and table dances only and require that you perform on stage 3-4 times per shift worked. Our club treats our ladies well and it is important that dancer candidates take their job and profession seriously.
Working as a Striptease dancer gives you the opportunity to earn a lot of money, the key phrase here is “gives you the opportunity.” It all comes down to you, your attitude, professionalism, work ethic and positive mindset. Our club will give you the opportunity to make a positive change in your life (economically) by giving you a fun and safe work environment where success is attainable. We’ll also give you the chance to travel to our sister club in Orlando where you can experience the Central Florida convention business and put some additional adventure into your life.
If you are serious about breaking the monotony in your life and working as a dancer in one of our world renowned clubs in Florida then don’t hesitate to contact us for more detailed information. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you any way we can.”
Wow, that sure sounds like a great way to make money right! Well it turns out not only did Rachel’s NOT pay Barlow, but her lawyer says possibly “hundreds of girls” have been affected. The lawsuit was filed in May against Florida Beverages Corporation, which operates Rachel’s. According to the lawsuit filing, Barlow is owed almost $110,000.
Rachel’s attorney, Lawrence Walters, responds to these allegations. “Our client’s wage and employment practices are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements, and we look forward to vigorously defending against this non-meritorious claim.”
We’ve seen and heard from women, who work in the strip club business and found this club did what other clubs did, mainly force “house fees”, having to payout a “house mom” and tip out DJ’s and club security. All of this is highly illegal. We’ve written about this before. Here’s another club in Tennessee who also took advantage of the dancers.
How can Dancers Protect Themselves from Club Abuse?
Since investigating how men’s clubs work across the nation we found some disturbing facts and trends in this industry. For as long as dancers have existed, they’ve been considered independent contractors. Most even sign a waiver saying we agree that we are independent and not actual employees.
There’s just one small problem with that scenario; dancers ARE employees. The majority of US clubs employ dancers by keeping them on strict schedules and having them follow strict rules; two major identifiers that actually make them unpaid employees.
Tips on protecting your wages –if you choose to go to court.
Keep track of the following and keep records.
1. Days worked, shown in a calendar.
2. How many hours you have worked per shift including time taken to dress, do your makeup, time spent cashing out and tipping any staff members.
3. Record any hours worked overtime.
4. Keep track of any purchases made in the club that are for resale, items may include cigarettes, cigars, promotional items, shirts or any other promotional materials.
5. Please keep any and all receipts (if provided) showing you paid for “stage fees”, “house fees” or any other so called use fee.
6. Keep any and all rules posted (take a picture if on a wall), or contracts you signed during the audition or after.
7. Note what the minimum wages are in your state, these will vary state to state, and may be different per city.
Want to sue your club? Don’t be afraid to exercise your rights!
You can change your employee status, and you do NOT need to be afraid. You can get fired from jobs at which you are employed. Independent contractors aren’t employees. Sue your club owner if you feel taken advantage of. Get rid of the schedule…KEEP YOUR JOB!
Visit https://www.employmentlawproblems.com/ to start the process, it cost nothing to join. Or contact us at 1-800-214-1010 National Injury Help is here to guide you through the process.