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Exotic Dancer Files Lawsuit Claiming Unpaid Wages, Overtime

Thursday, October 17, 2013
An exotic dancer in Atlanta has filed a wages lawsuit against her employer, claiming violations of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

In the lawsuit, the stripper Amanda Berry claims that she and another fellow exotic dancer at the same strip club were misclassified by the owners of the strip club as independent contractors. They were not classified as employees, and as a result, they were paid only tips from customers, and were not paid any overtime or even minimum wages.

The two worked at a club called Pin Ups, and according to the lawsuit, club management imposed additional fines as well as other fees on strippers, working at the club. There were widespread violations of their rights. For instance, if the dancers arrived late, they were fined. If they didn't appear on stage immediately when their names were announced, they were slapped with another fine. Fines were also levied if they were not ready on the dance floor within 30 minutes of arriving at the facility, and they were also fined between $35 and $95 a day, as bar fees, breathalyzer test fees, DJ fees, and “slow day” fees.

Not surprisingly, the club did not even bother to inform workers, or give them prior notice before terminating them. For instance, when a manager at the facility learned that Berry was pregnant, she was immediately fired.

However, the dancers may have a long uphill battle ahead of them, especially as they do not seem to have been salaried employees of the club. The dancers may take comfort from the fact that in 2009, several dancers at another Atlanta adult club settled a similar lawsuit. In that particular case, the judge ruled that the dancers were indeed employees, even though the club did not pay them any wages.


Court Finds Meal and Rest Period Compensation is a Wage

Monday, April 15, 2013

In a March 7, 2013 decision in the case of Abad v. General Nutrition Systems Inc. U.S. District Court Case No. 8:09-CV-00190-JVC-RNB, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna ruled that Meal and Rest Period Compensation is a Wage. The Plaintiffs in that matter are represented by Jeffrey Spencer of the Spencer Law Firm.

Defendant GNC filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that in light of the California Supreme Court decision Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc., 53 Cal.4th 1244, (2012) and the U.S. District Court Decision Jones v. Spherion Staffing LLC, LA CV11-06462 JAK, 2012 WL 3264081 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 7, 2012) meal and rest compensation was a penalty, not a wage and could not be the basis of a claim for waiting time penalties under California Labor Code §§201-203or for inaccurate wage statements under California Labor Code §226.

The Court rejected GNC’s reasoning and declined to follow Jones v. Spherion Staffing LLC. The Court found that the holding in Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., 40 Cal. 4th 1094, (2007) that the additional hour of wages owed for violation of California Labor Code §226.7 (failure to provide meal and rest periods) is a wage and not a penalty is controlling. Therefore Plaintiffs can bring claims for waiting time penalties and inaccurate wage statements based upon GNC’s failure to pay meal and rest compensation and its failure to include meal and rest compensation in the plaintiff’s wage statements. A copy of the complete order is available here:  

Abad v. GNC Abad v. GNC (59 KB)



Son Sues Parents for Overtime

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It’s not every day that a California employment lawyer comes across an overtime lawsuit that involves a family business. A New York City-based mom-and-pop store is finding itself embroiled in an overtime lawsuit filed by the son of the couple that runs the store.

The lawsuit claims 80 hours of overtime, saying that that the son had worked that many hours without being paid overtime wages. The lawsuit is threatening to tear the family apart. The parents insist that the lawsuit is being filed in retaliation because they fired their son after he began a business that competed with their business. According to the parents, the son bought his own ice cream truck, and tried to directly compete with the mom-and-pop business. The parents then fired their son.

He has now filed a lawsuit claiming overtime wages. The son claims that he was fired for complaining about the long hours without any overtime pay.

This lawsuit is likely to draw some snickers, but it does raise interesting questions about whether family-run establishments like mom-and-pop stores do owe their employees overtime or even, for that matter, a minimum wage. It may make sense that you do not take wages from your own company when it is your own business. However, if you have employed a spouse, your children, and other relatives in the business, then it may be reasonable for them to expect that they may be paid for their work.

The mother and father in this particular case have claimed that their son occupied an executive position in the company, and therefore, he was exempt from any overtime payments. However, considering that the son was being paid a wage of $10 per hour at the store, it remains to be seen whether their argument that he was an executive will hold much weight in court.




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