On June 20, 2017, in a twenty-five page opinion, a Judge in the Eastern District of Michigan approved a $6.5 million dollar settlement for exotic dancers that performed at the nationwide chain Déjà vu. At issue in the case, was whether exotic dancers are properly classified as independent contractors or if they are employees of the night clubs. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay each employee minimum wage, something that Déjà Vu did not do because they classified the dancers as independent contractors. Read the full opinion here.
Settlement with Déjà Vu
The settlement agreement reached will require that Déjà Vu provide dancers with an “Entertainment Assessment Form” in order to ensure the dancer is properly classified as an employee or independent contractor based upon the factors of the economic realities test. The injunctive relief also requires Déjà Vu to offer each class member the opportunity to cancel their current independent contractor status and accept a position as an employee. On the other hand, if a dancer wishes to retain their status as an independent contractor they may do so, and Defendants must provide those dancers with the benefits an independent contractor generally recognizes, such as no imposed work schedule. The independent contractors must also be given the opportunity to vote on some club policies.
In addition to the substantial injunctive relief provided under the terms of the settlement, each class member that opts into the settlement will have the option of receiving a cash payment or credits towards rent or dance-fee payments charged by Déjà Vu.
The Court concluded that “the settlement embodies ‘a fair and reasonable [resolution] of a bona fide dispute over FLSA provisions.”