Adult Entertainment Clubs Fighting Losing Legal Battle on Denial of Minimum Wage to Dancers

Adult entertainment clubs are fighting a headwind of court victories by dancers claiming they are the club’s “employees” and thus entitled to a minimum wage.

If the club owners had their way, the dancers would be considered “independent contractors” who have to get by on the tips they receive from customers..

The case that caused shockwaves throughout the industry was an FLSA lawsuit brought by more than 2,000 dancers who worked at Rick’s Cabaret in New York City between 2005 and 2012.

Those women were awarded $10.9 million in their class action lawsuit against their employer.

Seeking to ride the momentum of that victory, plaintiffs’ attorneys in other states have taken up the dancers’ cause.

Among them Gregg C. Greenberg, an attorney in Silver Spring, Maryland who has represented about 60 dancers in lawsuits against clubs across the state.

The minimum wage in Maryland is $8.75 in jobs where employees don’t get tips; that’s more than twice the tipped $3.63 an hour wage.

One of Greenberg’s suits was on behalf of six women who sued two adult clubs in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in 2012, alleging that the clubs did not pay them the minimum wage required under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The women prevailed in U.S. district court, after which the clubs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

As evidence that they were employees, the women argued that they “were closely regulated by defendants, from their hours to their earnings to their workplace conduct.”

The club, on the other hand, argued that the dancers were “free agents that came and went as they pleased,” and used the clubs as a rented space.

Affirming the lower court;s ruling,  Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson III, wrote for the court: The “relzed working relationship represented by defendants–the kinds that perhaps ever worker dreams about–fimds little support in the record.”

The FLSA rules and do’s and dont’s are discussed here.






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