MIAMI A new lawsuit filed last week alleges that as many as 500 exotic dancers and entertainers who worked at the 24/7 dance and strip club E11EVEN Miami were misclassified as independent contractors and stiffed minimum wage and overtime pay. The suit, waged by one of the clubs performers in a collective action against operators of the 25,000-square foot, multi-floor venue, also alleges that management absconded with the dancers tips and demanding illegal kickbacks including in the form of house fees. At all material times during the five years prior to filing of this action, defendants categorized all dancers/entertainers employed at [E11EVEN Miami] as independent contractors and have failed and refused to pay wages or compensation to such dancers/entertainers in accordance with Florida law, the suit, filed at Miami federal court, said. E11EVEN opened up five years ago in attempt to change things up in downtown Miami as an over-the-top club. The venue, costing a reported $40 million, is located blocks away from American Airlines Arena and minutes from South Beach. The never-closing club, according to its publicist, offers a bevy of the hottest dancers mixed with Cirque du Soleil-style performers [who] fly high above the bottle-service party pit that is equipped with a hydraulic stage, completing a sensory overload of sight and sound. According to the suit filed against the parent company of the club, owner Dennis DeGori and CFO Frances Martin the business operates “solely as an adult-oriented entertainment facility featuring nude or semi-nude female entertainers.” AVN attempted to reach club operators for comment but was unsuccessful at post time. The club has been closed the past month due to the pandemic. The suit seeks unspecified general, compensatory and special damages, as well as attorneys fees, among other forms of relief. Industry attorney Lawrence Walters, of the Florida-based Walters Law Group, told AVN that worker misclassification cases have hit the dance club industry hard over the years. In a time when many clubs are forced to close due to social distancing requirements, defending these cases can have serious financial consequences, Walters said. Some clubs require performers to sign independent contractor agreements which prevent class actions or require arbitration. In those instances, the performers can be forced to litigate or arbitrate individual claims.
written by: Rhett Pardon