NEW YORK– An estimated 50,000 current and former exotic dancers for a nationwide chain of adult entertainment clubs may soon share part of a proposed $6.5 million settlement agreement to resolve ongoing unpaid overtime lawsuits between the workers and employer. Additionally, the suit may also set an important precedent when it comes to future overtime pay lawsuits between performers and club owners over whether or not the individuals are independent contractors or full-fledged employees under the law.
Dozens of lawsuits against the defendant, Deja Vu Services Inc., allege the company improperly misclassified the dancers at independent contractors not eligible for hourly pay, overtime wages, and other benefits. Many of those claims were consolidated and others put on hold pending a judge’s review of the proposed settlement.
Employees and Independent Contractors may Both See Compensation
The proposed settlement is unique in that it create a framework in which clubs and dancers would be able to resolve whether or not the individual plaintiff is an employee entitled to overtime or an actual independent contractor. Using an “entertainment assessment form” incorporating the IRS’s “economic realities test,” each plaintiff and the defense would decide how much of the payout the individual would receive.
Those factors include the employer’s control of a worker’s hours, performance conditions, compensation and ability to work elsewhere. From there, plaintiffs would draw compensation from two distinct settlement pools, one for employees and the other for independent contractors.
One pool provides $1 million in cash payments to employees classified as employees. Two lead plaintiffs will also receive an additional $30,000 for acting as lead plaintiffs in the case. The second pool will compensate independent contractor plaintiffs anywhere from $220 to $2,000 for various expenses deducted while working at the clubs, depending on the time each plaintiffs spent on the job.
Additionally, the settlement could create a unique roadmap to decide how future unpaid overtime lawsuits between club owners and exotic dancers are solved. The settlement currently has a preliminary approval from the judge and is awaiting final approval.
Exotic Dancer Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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