Two former exotic dancers out of San Francisco recently joined the growing ranks of dancers who are pursuing litigation against California clubs allegedly in violation of labor law. Elena Pera and Sarah Murphy filed their California minimum wage lawsuit on January 11, 2017 listing S.A.W. Entertainment LTD as the defendant in the case. In this case, the company, doing business as Condor Gentleman’s Club, allegedly filed to provide legal minimum wage to exotic dancers as a result of misclassification as independent contractors rather than employees.
Pera and Murphy seek damages and restitution on behalf of themselves and other exotic dancers in similar positions. The plaintiffs filed the minimum wage lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Legal counsel involved in the case stated that dozens of cases have been handled with similar claims and circumstances in the last four years, that there is currently a nationwide push for this type of case, and that virtually ever court that has decided similar cases held that the exotic dancers were employees – not independent contractors.
2011: Courts handed down a decision favoring a group of exotic dancers out of Georgia claiming they should be classified as employees and not independent contractors (Clincy v. Galardi South Enterprises operating as Club Onyx). This ruling was designated as a “road map” for cases involving dancers and clubs. It included a number of definitions of factors determining if a worker is, in fact, an employee in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Legal trends indicate that the law will support the argument that the girls are employees rather than independent contactors. Categorization as employees would entitle them to minimum wage, overtime payment, and liquidated damages due to the misclassification.
Due to the legal trend, more dancers are coming forward with lawsuits against their clubs and dancing establishments across the country mainly citing misclassification as well as other general labor-law violations.
If you have questions regarding misclassification or unpaid overtime, please get in touch with one of the experienced southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.