Exotic Dancers Attempt to Receive Minimum Wage Back Pay

Three exotic dancers are claiming that they were exploited employees at Anchorage strip clubs. Allegedly, Fantasies on 5th Avenue and Crazy Horse “use stage fees, illegal tip-pooling, house fees, mandated souvenir sales, and even involuntary charity drives to extract money from strippers.” Not only do these practices break state wage and hour laws, but they also go against the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal piece of legislation that provides regulations for minimum wage, overtime pay, and minor employment.

The dancers contend that they would sometimes earn less than minimum wage on slow business nights. This was the result of owing the club more money for stage fees than what they had earned for particular slow shifts. Therefore, they often did not keep the majority of the cash that they were handed.

Essentially, the strippers’ goal is to verify that they were employees of the clubs because that will allow them to collect minimum wage back pay. In actuality, most exotic dancers want to be considered independent contractors because, even after paying stage fees, they still make substantially more than minimum wage.

Even though the club owners requested for this case to be dismissed, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess denied their request in September. The dancers will be represented by their lawyer, Ken Legacki, on their trail date, which is January 3, 2012. This case will ultimately determine whether these strippers were “exploited employees” and if they should be qualified as club employees or independent contractors. In addition, this case will determine if the cash given to the exotic dancers is considered tips or service charges.

Judge Burgess prohibited this case from becoming a class action. Therefore, only these three un-named dancers will be rewarded if they win the case.

Minimum wage according to the Fair Labor Standards Act

If a state’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, then employers are required to pay the state’s minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, while Alaska’s minimum wage is $7.75. Thus, Alaskan employers must pay their state minimum wage to all nonexempt employees.