$10 Million Settlement for Strippers in CA, NV, TX, KY, FL, & ID
(4/11; CA, NV, TX, KY, FL, & ID)
If you’re a stripper & worked in specific strip clubs in CA, NV, TX, KY, FL, & ID, you might you might be entitled to backwages of minimum wages & recuperation of your stage fees (illegal tip sharing) that management required you to pay as a condition of your employment:
This is excerpted from the settlement motion Trauth v. Spearmint Rhino Companies Worldwide, Inc:
“On July 13, 2010, Plaintiffs Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 filed a putative class action complaint against Defendants Spearmint Rhino Companies Worldwide, Inc. (“Spearmint Rhino Co.”), Spearmint Rhino Consulting Worldwide, Inc. (“Spearmint Rhino Consulting”), K-Kel, Inc. (“K-Kel”), and Oxnard Hospitality Services, Inc. (“Oxnard”), alleging four claims:
(1) violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for failure to pay statutory minimum wages;
(2) violation of the California Labor Code for failure to pay statutory minimum wages;
(3) violation of the California Labor Code for unlawful tip splitting and acceptance of other payments from employees;
(4) violation of California Business and Profession Code § 17200, the Unfair Competition Act (“UCL”)
California (CA) Strip Clubs:
Downtown LA Club Venture, Inc., Farmdale Hospitality Services, Inc., High Expectations Hospitality, LLC, Inland Restaurant Venture I, Inc., K-Kel Inc., Kentucky Hospitality Venture LLC, LCM, LLC, Midnight Sun Enterprise, Inc., Olympic Avenue Venture, Inc., Rialto Pockets, Inc., Rouge Gentlmen’s Club, Inc., Santa Barbara Hospitality Services, Inc., Santa Maria Restaurant Enterprises, Inc., The Oxnard Hospitality Services, Inc., and WPB Hospitality, LLC
These clubs are supposed to “stop charging dancers “stage fees” within 30 days of the final settlement approval” and “discontinue the practice of treating dancers as independent contractors or lessees and shall likewise discontinue using any Dancer Performance Lease with Class Members” within six months of final settlement approval.”
In my personal opinion, class action lawsuits look good on paper but they have very limited worth if they end in a settlement and don’t go to trial. Settlements are just a slap on the strip club’s wrist. The problem is often that pro-dancer lawyers are content to settle rather than go all the way to trial. It’s a faster way for them to cash out sooner. It’s also cheaper for them as well as for the strip club to settle so they don’t have to spend labor & money on the trial.
From what I’ve seen of cases that go to trial, the dancers win on the same merits of their cases. But the more important thing about a trial win is that there’s a legal precedent that’s set with the case. With settlements, there’s no case law, which is exactly what the clubs want to avoid. After paying the settlement, it’s a matter of time before the strip clubs return to their shady labor practices.
Usually after strip clubs lose in the lawsuit (with both settlements & trial loses), they just reincarnate a different way to screw over the dancers “legally.” It usually looks like a whack piece-rate system where they may properly classify dancers as employees but then the strip club employers now legally “own” the strippers’ lapdances using a quota system. This is not unlike sweatshop workers in the garment industry who must produce so many widgets within a shift. So the club management now says, “We want each dancer to do 10 lapdances. And each lapdance is worth $25. And the club will do a 50%:50% split with the dancer on that lapdance.” It’s just a stage fee all over again–except this time is super inflated & the club owners claim it’s their legal right. It’s retaliation because the strip club management have a hard time letting go of the workers’ tips. Management refuse to comprehend that any policies they conjure to extract a worker’s tips are illegal. That’s why they loose these lawsuits time and time again as judges favor their awards to the exotic dancer workers.
If you are a stripper who is part of a settlement DO NOT SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT!! You can usually get the clubs to drop this part of the settlement. They do this so that you’re not allowed to talk about the settlement or case. It’s a way they try to silence the workers yet again! More on this in a future post….