The San Diego Union-Tribune recently had an interesting story about exotic dancers in the area who claim in lawsuits that they have to pay for the privilege of working in clubs.
The news outlet reported that some dancers have filed lawsuits claiming they are forced to pay “house fees”, which range from $30 to $80 per night, after which they spend several hours working with customers for tips only.
Additionally, the dancers say that they do not even get to keep all their tips—they claim that most of the time, 20 percent of their earnings go to club managers, bouncers and DJs. The lawsuits have been filed in both San Diego’s federal and superior courts, accusing clubs of misclassifying dancers as independent contractors, which allow clubs to not pay minimum wages and/or overtime pay, as well as pay for meal breaks and other benefits.
The lawsuits claim clubs are violating California labor laws, which require that tips remain the property of employees they are given to. Clubs involved in the lawsuits include Cheetahs in Kearny Mesa, Pacers Showgirls International in the Midway District and Goldfingers Gentlemen’s Club in Miramar.
It should be noted that similar lawsuits have been filed against clubs nationally. In fact, recently, more than 2,000 former and current dancers of Rick’s Cabaret International settled a misclassification lawsuit for $10 million.
If Your Tips or Wages are Inaccurate, Talk to Our Los Angeles Labor Lawyers
Last week, we discussed how California employers cannot use tips as credit toward their duty to pay minimum wages. If you have questions about this, you can visit the state’s Department of Industrial Relation’s website, where there is an FAQ page about tips and gratuity.
If you believe that your employment status is being misclassified, talk to our Los Angeles labor lawyers about your legal rights. You may be able to file a wage claim and/or lawsuit seeking back pay and damages. It is sad when employers attempt to classify workers as independent contractors in an attempt to avoid paying legal wages and providing benefits.
Unfortunately, employee misclassification claims are common in many industries that are significant in California including technology, transportation and entertainment. Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages for more information.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys