WASHINGTON (CN) – A D.C. strip club, cheekily named The House, failed to pay its exotic dancers minimum wage, a federal judge ruled.
The House, which styles itself as “an exotic gentlemen’s club in Washington, D.C. featuring nude female dancers,” had unsuccessfully tried to dismiss the lawsuit by claiming that its dancers were independent contractors and not entitled to minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell disagreed and granted the five plaintiffs partial summary judgment on Friday.
According to the 2009 federal complaint, The House paid one dancer “approximately $40 per ten-hour shift of exotic dancing.” The club also allegedly deducted from its dancers’ wages for late fees, stage fees and sick days.
“Several other federal courts that have been presented with the question of whether exotic dancers are employees under the FLSA or independent contractors have found the dancers to be employees,” Howell wrote, using the acronym for the labor law.
The judge ruled that the dancers should be considered employees, finding that “The House exercised a significant degree of control over the plaintiffs’ work.”
On the same note, the judge ruled that the strip club’s parent company, Linda and A. Inc., and owner, Darrell Allen, are considered employers.
Howell said the dancers deserve liquidated damages.