Self-described “Strippers” File Class Action for Unpaid Minimum Wages
Three self-described “strippers” filed a federal class action saying that they are among 200 women who worked at Diamonds Exclusive Men’s Club of Mobile, were forced to share tips, paid less than minimum wage and mis-classified as independent contractors.
Defendants include VMJ Inc., owner and operator of an adult entertainment establishment and saloon in Mobile, Alabama named Diamonds Exclusive Men’s Club of Mobile or “Diamonds”; Paxos Management Services, Inc.; John Vellianitis and Jeremy Vellianitis.
Plaintiffs, April Mudd, Brianca Arnold, and Jessica Whitehead, filed an action for unpaid minimum wages under the Fail Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
At all times material to the case, the Plaintiffs were employed by the Defendants as “exotic dancers” (also known as “entertainer”, “stripper”, or “dancer”) who entertained patrons of the saloon known as “DIAMONDS” by performing dances. The plaintiffs were typically paid for these dances by the patrons and not the defendants. According to the complaint, they, and other “exotic dancers”, were required by the defendants to share a portion of their tips from customers with other employees of the defendants. Other employees included bouncers, managers and or bartenders.
The plaintiffs were also charged a nightly fee or similar charge to work at “DIAMONDS”. The defendants categorized the plaintiffs as “independent contractors” and not “employees”. The plaintiffs were not paid the Federal Minimum wage or applicable “tip credit” under the FLSA.
According to the class action, the plaintiffs were improperly classified as independent contractors.
The complaint, filed by Courthouse News, states that the defendants are all considered to be an employer and enterprise engaged in interstate commerce with annual revenue of at least five hundred thousand dollars and subject to the FLSA. The defendants have at least two employees involved in interstate commerce and the defendants engaged in interstate commerce by purchasing alcoholic beverages, and other items from outside the State of Alabama and regularly advertise via the world wide web and other media sources to persons outside the state of Alabama.
The named plaintiffs are only three of over approximately 200 exotic dancers who worked for the defendants at DIAMONDS in the past three years and were compensated in a similar manner to the named plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs brought this case in their individual capacity and as a collective action to recover unpaid minimum wages, liquidated damages, unlawfully withheld wages, statutory penalties, attorney’s fees and costs, and damages owed to the plaintiffs and all similarly situated employees of the defendants under the FLSA.
According to the complaint, the class consists of:
All persons who are currently, or who were, employed during the three (3) year period immediately preceding the filing of this Complaint in the position of “exotic dancer”, “entertainer”, “stripper” or other similarly titled position with the Defendants at “DIAMONDS”, directly or through one of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies, and who worked as an “entertainer” “exotic dancer”, “stripper” or other similarly titled position with the given week within the 3 year period immediately preceding the filing of this Complaint and who have not filed a complaint to recover unpaid minimum wages.
The plaintiffs estimate that there are over 250 members of this class.