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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Vegan Strip Club Dancers Demand Pay

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Two strippers sued the world's first vegan strip club, claiming the boss pays less than minimum wage and allows inappropriate touching by bouncers and patrons.

Casa Diablo in Northwest Portland bills itself as "the world's first vegan strip club." It offers veggie burgers, wraps, and other bar food made without animal products.

Portland is believed to have the highest number of strip clubs per capita in the United States and is home to a large number of vegans.

Two strippers at Casa Diablo sued their employer for unpaid wages in Federal Court on Jan. 11.

Matilda Bickers and Amy Pitts danced at Casa Diablo for more than two years, and quit in July 2014. They say they had to pay their employer kickbacks, including stage rental fees, late arrival fines, and fines for shift cancellation.

The club also fined dancers who touched bouncers in an "inappropriate" way, and charged them DJ and bouncer fees, according to the complaint. They claim that bouncers and patrons repeatedly touched them inappropriately, and the club did not do anything to prevent it.

The strippers say they were required to pay more than 30 percent of the tips they received. Bickers claims the club owes her $31,000, and Pitts $26,000, in unpaid wages and liquidated damages.

Defendants include manager John Zukle and owner Carol Lee.

Zukle called the lawsuit "frivolous and ridiculous" in comments to the Willamette Week.

"As far as this minimum wage claim regarding their misclassification, these dancers were clearly independent contractors in charge of their own business," Zukle said.

The women are represented by Lake James H. Perriguey with Elliot Ostrander and Preston.

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