Strippers in Pay Flap |Lose Injunction Bid

     ATLANTA (CN) – Strippers suing two Atlanta nightclubs failed to convince a federal judge to temporarily restrain their employers from allegedly retaliating against them by slashing their pay or depriving them of work.
     Dancers at the Pink Pony and Club Onyx strip clubs sued their employers on November 6, 2013, alleging the clubs violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.
     On March 23, 2015, U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint, adding both plaintiffs and defendants to the litigation.
     Then last month, the opt-in plaintiffs filed a emergency motion for a temporary restraining order against the defendants, claiming their employers were retaliating against them for joining the lawsuit.
     The dancers claimed the defendants are pressuring them to sign an employment agreement that would restrict them to direct wages of $2.13 per hour, while allowing them to keep any tips they received while dancing, and 40 percent of the tips they received during off-stage performances, including lap dances.
     The opt-in plaintiffs also expressed concern over a non-compete clause in the employment agreement, which would prevent them from performing at other clubs.
     They also claimed they were being treated differently from nonparty dancers at the clubs, because the nonparties were not being asked to sign the employment agreement.
     As a result, they said, nonparty dancers could keep all the tips they earned, onstage and off, and were allowed to work their preferred schedule and work at other clubs.
     But Judge Duffey was unmoved by the dancers’ claims, calling the opt-in plaintiffs’ declarations, “vague and conclusory arguments.”
     He noted that In their response to the dancers’ motion, the defendants claimed they reclassified the women as employees and changed their pay in a “good faith” effort to “respond to their demand that they be treated as employees for purposes of the FLSA.”
     According to the ruling, the defendants “specifically claim that, even though the Employment Agreement reduces the amount of compensation for off-stage dances, the difference is ‘offset’ by a guaranteed hourly wage and the elimination of a prior requirement to share compensation with the clubs, the DJ, bar staff, house moms, floor staff, and security.”
     During a June 2 hearing, Duffey wrote, the plaintiffs “conceded that they ‘do not know what the financial impact of the Employment Agreement] would be because we don’t have an example of it.’ Plaintiffs also conceded that ‘there is an absence of facts’ to show ‘how much [the Opt-in Plaintiffs’] compensation has been reduced’ because of the new Employment Agreement.”
     “Because the Opt-in Plaintiffs have not, at this stage of the proceedings, shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits by demonstrating a prima facie case of retaliation under the FLSA, the Court is not required to address the remaining factors of the preliminary injunction test,” the Judge concluded.
     He also rejected the opt-in plaintiffs claim that the non-compete clause is facially unenforceable under Georgia law because it is not geographically or temporally limited.
     Such a claim is “not supported by any argument or legal authority,” Duffey said.

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