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South Florida dancers file minimum wage, overtime lawsuit

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Many south Floridians work in jobs where they earn tips. Bartenders, servers, barbers, masseuses, and dancers all earn a significant portion of their wages via tips. Yet, when this is the case, disputes may arise as to whether an employee is being paid in accordance with labor laws. Employers who fail to adequately pay their employees may be held liable, meaning that their employees may be able to succeed on a lawsuit against them to recover the compensation they are owed.

This situation is playing out right now in south Florida, as strip club owners are being accused of cheating exotic dancers out of owed wages. According to many, strip clubs are failing to pay exotic dancers minimum wages and overtime. The strip club owners claim that they are exempt from paying minimum wage, though, as there is no employer-employee relationship. Instead, they claim, the dancers are acting as independent contractors, meaning they are renting space from the owners and are thereby allowed to keep their tips. The owners claim this is beneficial to the dancers, as the owners take all legal and political heat with regards to the business.

Many strip club owners are now making their employees sign employment contracts that specifically spell out the relationship and how legal matters should be addressed. More specifically, the contracts are classifying dancers as independent contractors and state that legal disputes must be addressed via binding arbitration rather than through the courts.

Though this case, which could gain class-action status, applies only exotic dancers, these types of situations could pertain to hair stylists, servers, and bartenders. Thus, those who have a complaint about how their wage and hour issues are being handles should consult the law and, perhaps, an attorney, to determine what course of action is best for them in an attempt to remedy the situation and recover the compensation they are owed.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Florida stripper, others suing clubs under labor laws,” Elaine Silvestrini, Feb. 6, 2016

Tags: Wage and Hour Laws