Sullying the otherwise esteemed reputation enjoyed by strip club proprietors, a federal judge ruled Friday that the owners of Rick's Cabaret in Manhattan owe dancers more than $10 million in unpaid wages.
U.S District Judge Paul Engelmayer's decision comes as part of a class action lawsuit filed by around 1,900 Rick's Cabaret dancers who say they were misclassified as independent contractors and denied rightful compensation—a claim Engelmayer agreed with last year.
The dancers got no steady wages, instead paying a fee to the club to perform there and in return getting paid by customers. The customers put up $20 for each personal dance and fees starting at $100 for 15 minutes of entertainment in semi-private rooms.
But after paying club fees and required tips to deejays and other club workers, the dancers sometimes ended up in the red, [the dancer's attorney E. Michelle] Drake said.
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