NEW YORK — Disc jockeys and exotic dancers at a Manhattan strip club received conditional class certification from a New York federal judge recently in their collective action wage and overtime pay lawsuit. The DJs and dancers claim VIP Club wrongfully classified their positions as independent contractors. The alleged improper classification led the DJs and dancers to be denied minimum wage and overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The DJ And Dancers’ Claim
A former disc jockey, Sheldon Romero, filed the lawsuit in May 2014. According to Romero’s claim the DJs and dancers were classified as independent contractors when they were actually employees and should have been subject to minimum wage and overtime laws. Instead, Romero alleges the dancers and DJ did not receive wages except in the form of tips. Romero claimed the dancers and DJs were subject to the same policies and practices, which violated the FLSA and denied the proper compensation for all of the hours they worked.
VIP Club, on the other hand, had argued that the dancers and DJs were not similarly situated by virtue of their actual work and the arrangements with the club. But the court did not agree at this point. While this is yet another in a long line of lawsuits filed against strip clubs and cabarets involving dancers allegedly misclassified as independent contractors, it is one of the few that includes DJs who are subject to similar FLSA violations.
The New York federal court determined Romero had provided sufficient evidence that other DJs and dancers, despite the considerable difference in job activities, were similarly situated and potentially suffered from the same policies and had similar damages as Romero such that the lawsuit may move forward. With the conditional certification, it is expected that around 116 individuals will be eligible to opt-in, including three DJs. While both DJs and dancers will be able to opt-in to the collective action, the potential class members will still need to prove and maintain that they were subject to a common policy or practice which violated the FLSA. The current information that granted them conditional certification may not be enough further on in the case. And some of the potential class members may still be eliminated later, if the judge determines they were not similarly situated or did not suffer sufficiently similar damages as a result of VIP’s policies.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when determining if you are an independent contractor or not. If you believe you have been improperly classified as an independent contractor and you are treated as an employee by a company, contact an overtime pay lawyer today to discuss your situation. Our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers can be reached at (855) 754-2795. Or you may complete our Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our legal team will evaluate your claim. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.