Atlanta strippers file lawsuit over minimum wages

Two exotic dancers at a prominent Atlanta strip club have filed a lawsuit in federal court over minimum wages.
Brandy Mizner-Klearman and Suzette Maxey filed suit against Doll House II and their  supervisor, Theo Lambros, in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, the AJC reports.
The two ladies said they worked for tips only at Stilettos Gentlemen’s Club on Marietta St. N.W. in Atlanta, a club owned by ‘Doll House II’ and that they were also required to kick back some of their earnings to pay for their security, the DJ and the house mom.
“The business model for much of the industry is contrary to the Fair Labor Standards minimum wage and overtime requirements,” said Charles Bridgers, an attorney with DeLong Caldwell Bridgers Fitzpatrick, the Atlanta firm representing the dancers.
Mizner-Klearman and Maxey began working for Doll House II in 2013. They are seeking compensation including unpaid wages due them, plus legal costs.
The latest lawsuit states that “At all times … defendants intentionally and willfully misclassified plaintiffs as independent contractors.”
The dancers feel emboldened because women have sued several local clubs including Magic City, Tattletale Lounge, Pin Ups and Pleasers. Last January, a federal judge ruled that strippers at Pin Ups were employees, not independent contractors, and were entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
And, perhaps most significantly, in 2009, popular Atlanta strip club Onyx was also sued over wages. The case was settled with 73 dancers being paid a total of $1.55 million, according to court documents.
Legal experts say the distinction between determining whether a worker is an “independent contractor” or an “employee” turns on factors including how much control the employer wields over the worker, how much the employer determines the worker’s income, and the permanency of the relationship between the parties.
Another key factor, Bridgers said, is “how integral the service rendered is to the business. In the case of adult night clubs, it is their entire reason for existing.”

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