Class of Exotic Dancers Files Employment Law Claim against Club
A group of exotic dancers working for the company Ranson Golden Horseshoe, Inc. has brought a lawsuit against the club where they worked for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act. The lead plaintiff, Lisa Harvey, claims in her suit that the club did not keep accurate records of when Harvey worked. The plaintiff also claims that she was required to pay $15 from her tips for every weekday shift she worked, regardless of how much she made, and that she was required to pay $30 for weekend shifts. When Harvey was late to a shift, the defendants would sometimes refuse to allow her to work, but still made her pay $15 or $30, depending on the day, if she wanted to be able to work the next day. Additionally, Harvey claims that the dancers of the club were improperly classified as independent contractors, but were in reality treated like employees, and thus should have been afforded the same legal rights and protections as employees. Harvey is also suing on behalf of all current and former employees of the night club from February of 2012 to the present day, who were unlawfully classified as independent contractors.
The Federal Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, requires that employers compensate their hourly (or “non-exempt”) employees at least at the minimum wage, that they pay those employees at one and one-half times their hourly rate for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek, and that they keep records of time worked by employees, and amounts paid to employees. Additionally, the FLSA makes it illegal to consider employees to be independent contractors where the individuals are not workers with economic independence, in business for themselves. In the case of the exotic dancers, they were forced to pay out a percentage of their tips regardless of what they earned, even when they were barred from working that shift. As a result, they were not always paid a minimum wage for days they worked, and sometimes paid more than they made. The club did not keep clear records of when the dancers worked, which left ample opportunities for the club not to pay the dancers what they were owed, since the dancers had no way to accurately contest the club’s determination of how much was owed. Finally, the dancers will attempt to prove their status as employees by showing that they were economically dependent on the business of the club, and had their work directed by the club, and were not skilled workers with independent business judgment.
Employees can be vulnerable to unfair treatment by their employers. If you feel like you’re not being paid for all the time you’ve worked at least at the minimum wage, or are otherwise having your rights under federal or West Virginia employment law violated, find an attorney who will stand up for those rights. Contact skilled Princeton employment attorney Kay Bayless at the Bayless Law Firm for a free consultation on your employment law claims at 800-359-2356.