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Ex-exotic dancer sues Florida company for unpaid wages, overtime

A woman who once danced at a strip club has filed a lawsuit against the Florida company that operates the club. She accuses the company of violating federal wage-and-hour laws by listing her and other dancers as independent contractors instead of permanent employees. The plaintiff, who is still employed at the club as a waitress, alleges that the club paid her under minimum wage, did not pay overtime and forced her to split her tips with other staff members.

The plaintiff filed a class-action suit in federal court on behalf of exotic dancers across the country. She claims that her club, which is in a neighboring state, violated federal labor laws that designated dancers as employees who are entitled to legal protections. The suit seeks up to $5 million in unpaid wages, overtime pay and other damages for up to 100 exotic dancers involved in the suit.

Among her allegations is the fact that the dancers were paid with tips instead of wages and had to pay $100 per shift to dance. Additionally, she claims that she had to share tips from regular performances, lap dances and private performances. The lawsuit further states that dancers sometimes brought little or no pay home because of all the fees and tips they were required to pay.

Employers in Florida and elsewhere are responsible for complying with state and federal labor laws in how they classify and pay the individuals who work for them. If they fail to do so, the employee may wish to examine what legal options are available under our state's employment laws. If successfully litigated, the suit may help the employee recover compensation for withheld wages, overtime and other damages. Additionally, it may act as a punitive measure against the employer to ensure that future workers are treated more fairly.

Source: Source: thestate.com, "Former dancer sues Myrtle Beach area strip club over wages," David Wren, Aug. 13, 2013

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