LOS ANGELES (CN) - Nude and seminude dancers have filed 15 class actions against Los Angeles strip clubs. The dancers claim club owners trample labor laws by confiscating more than half of their tips, fining them if they don't sell enough drinks, paying less than minimum wage, falsely classifying them as independent contractors, charging them a "stage fee" to work, and subjecting them to other abuses.
Godfathers, Spearmint Rhino, and Players Club are among the best-known of the defendants. The allegations against Godfathers, described in this article, are similar to those in the 14 other class actions.
The two named plaintiffs claim Godfathers charges them a "stage fee" to work, and "some of the clubs also force the dancers to kick up to 60 percent of their tips back to the club. Some of the clubs also force the dancers to tip other club employees, e.g., the bartenders, waitresses DJs, [and] bouncers," according to the complaint.
The dancers say they are forced under duress to enter unconscionable agreements to "attempt to insulate themselves from liability" by declaring dancers independent contractors. But "the dancers are really unpaid employees," the class claims.
The dancers say the clubs impose "illegal uniform requirements without providing uniforms," and "sanction" them for not performing for a certain number of hours, for not clocking out properly, for not selling enough drinks, "for not being fully in costume with hair and makeup complete," for "not offering specials," "for leaving the dance floor," and for other fripperies.
In addition to Godfathers, Spearmint Rhino and Players, class actions were filed against Candy Cat 1, Sunny's Saloon, Desire Gentleman's Club, Club 7557, Rouge Gentleman's Club, Blue Zebra, Thirsty's Gentleman's Club, Star Strip, Seventh Veil, Eros Station, Crazy Girls, Cheetah's Night Club and Scores Gentleman's Club.
The dancers seek restitution, lost wages and punitive damages for illegal wage deductions, illegal tip collection, illegal uniform requirements and labor and business code violations.
They are represented by Robert Manuwal of Woodland Hills.