After a hard day’s work of spinning on poles, four adult in Colorado feel duped in being paid less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, especially since their manage takes a substantial cut of their tips. Hence, the four dancers have slapped the Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club with a lawsuit demanding better pay, The Huffington Post reports.
The class-action suit claims that the strip club, located in Grand Junction, CO, not only had their dancers paid by just tips, they charged them a fee-per-shift for the “privilege of working there,” HuffPo said. For private dances, the club also took 25 percent of their earnings. The dancers must also pay the bouncers and DJs 14 cents out of every dollar they make. To top it all off, dancers can be fined for situations that are out of their control—such as a customer touching them inappropriately.
The strip club’s owner, Kevin Eardly, denies the charges. “They’re just looking for a handout, that’s what they’re looking for,” Eardly told HuffPo. He adds that the dancers make an average of $300 to $500 per nine-hour shift. Plus, he says that some of the disputed rules are implemented by the liquor board and must be followed prevent to the club from being fined thousands of dollars.
Mari Newman, a Denver attorney representing the dancers, disagrees.“The case is fundamentally one of exploitation, of exploiting workers that are vulnerable because of the stigma that’s attached to what they do,” she said. “It’s an example of treating workers as chattel.”
Filed in Colorado federal court, the suit alleges Fantasy broke federal and state law by classifying employees as independent contractors, denying them a minimum wage, overtime payments and other labor protections. Such an arrangement is common in the adult entertainment industry, Newman acknowledged, but in her mind, it’s a clear violation of the law, HuffPo adds.
Eardly doesn’t deny that he classified his dancers as independent contractors. “These girls never mentioned that they were employees,” he said. And he says that the compensation arrangement for Fantasy’s employees is standard of the adult entertainment industry. Eardly believes that the four dancers are simply disgruntled.
Eardly, however, may have a hard time winning the case because of precedence; recently. A few dancers who have sued their strip clubs for poor wages recently have actually won, HuffPo says, citing three cases in Atlanta, New York, and Kansas were dancers one million dollar settlements and clubs were forced to count those women as employees.
Do you think these women stand a chance?