Just because a person works in an industry that some portions of the public object to does not mean that they deserve fewer protections than any other type of worker. Workers rights advocates and exotic dancers alike won a significant victory recently, when a federal judge ruled in favor of nearly 30,000 dancers in a class action suit against a chain of nightclubs that operates across several states.
According to the suit, the primary issue was that the clubs maintained unfair employment classification policies that often left the dancers working for less than minimum wage. Prior to the ruling, the clubs did not classify the dancers as employees, but rather as independent contractors who were required to pay a fee in order to perform. Furthermore, the dancers were often required to share a portion of their tips with other staff members.
The judge declared that the dancers could choose to either remain independent contractors and share in a 4.5 million dollar settlement, or opt to assume the status of fully fledged employee. In almost all cases, the dancers chose to partake in the settlement.
Many business sectors suffer from systemic misclassification of employees that benefits employers while leaving workers struggling to make ends meet, and in many cases, results in earnings well below minimum wage. If you believe that your employer is unfairly classifying you or using unethical means to underpay you, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to protect your rights and fight for justice in the workplace, for yourself and others around you.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “Judge approves deal over pay for 28,000 exotic dancers,” June 21, 2017