Virginia Club Can’t Sink Exotic Dancer’s Misclassification Suit  

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge has given an exotic dancer the green light to sue the Old Dominion Club of Richmond in a worker misclassification lawsuit despite claims by its operators that the adult club doesn’t make enough money to subject it to liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiff in the suit, who performed onstage and in VIP rooms, said that Old Dominion Club operators failed to pay minimum and overtime wages, while unlawfully taking her tips and making her pay kickbacks during her six-month stint. She also claims club operators didn’t pay her for preparing her hair and makeup before entertaining guests. With the claims, Old Dominion Club attorneys sought to have the lawsuit tossed by focusing primarily on the FLSA’s interstate commerce requirements. The suit seeks class-action status. First, counsel for the members-only club said the exotic dancer wasn’t eligible to file a claim against the venue under the FLSA because the club had $300,000 in annual gross of sales — less than the $500,000 threshold under the FLSA. Attorneys also contended that because the venue is a “private, non-profit, members-only social club” comparable to the Salvation Army it is not covered by the FLSA. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, however, dashed the hopes of the club’s attorneys and let the exotic dancer’s case proceed. “The court will not deny plaintiff … the opportunity to undertake discovery on her FLSA claims simply because defendants say their organization generated less than $500,000,” wrote Hudson, who noted that Old Dominion Club’s financial declaration had been unaudited. “There is no indication that a third-party auditor or court-appointed supervisor drafted the statements, and in fact, the declaration [was signed by the club’s purported board secretary] and a defendant in this action.” Hudson also found that the club’s comparison of its operations to charitable organizations, such as the Salvation Army, “attenuated at best.” Hudson noted in his ruling said the interstate commerce requirements of the FLSA are “better classified as elements of a claim for relief, rather than grounds for jurisdiction” and said that at the pleading stage the court accepted her “well-pleaded” allegations as true. Separately, in another lawsuit making claims an exotic dancer was miscategorized as an independent contractor, the La Vida Gentlemen’s Club in Los Angeles was hit with a claim for failing to pay minimum wage and overtime under the FLSA. A dancer at the San Fernando Valley strip club filed a federal suit this week alleging the FLSA violations and also claiming that she was “required that she divide her tips amongst other employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips” in the three years she worked there. Since 2005, 429 federal lawsuits have been filed by dancers alleging clubs misclassified them as independent contractors. More than half of those cases ended in a settlement. Photo By Gogirl18 / Wikimedia Commons 

written by: Rhett Pardon

source: Virginia Club Can’t Sink Exotic Dancer’s Misclassification Suit   | AVN