The named Plaintiff in a class action FLSA suit against the Penthouse Club in Philadelphia has asked a federal district court judge to sanction the club for failure to participate in the discovery process of the litigation. According to the papers filed with the Court, the Penthouse Club did initially respond to written discovery requests from the Plaintiff; however, the answers were vague and incomplete. The Court subsequently ordered the Penthouse Club to supplement and provide more complete answers, but that was never done.
The Plaintiff argues that the Penthouse Club’s failure to provide responses has resulted in prejudice to her case because they have withheld information that is needed for an upcoming arbitration hearing. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the “Defendant’s refusal to supplement or produce verified responses has severely prejudiced Plaintiff’s ability to engage in efforts to fully prepare to prosecute and presenter her case.”
Exotic Dancers are Employees Too
The basis of the wage and hour lawsuit is that the Club misclassified exotic dancers as independent contractors. The lawsuit alleges that the Penthouse Club exercised a high level of control over the dancers, including: set schedules, disciplinary actions, instructions on uniform/outfits, and other factors that are typically present in an employer and employee relationship. This theory of liability is very common in wage and hour lawsuits against strip clubs. A number of strip clubs have paid multi-million dollar settlements in the past years for their misclassification of dancers as independent contractors. If the dancer is determined to be an employee and not an independent contractor, then the club must pay the dancer a base hourly wage that is at least equal to the federally mandated minimum wage rate as set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The lawsuit also alleges that the dancers were required to pay management unlawful kickbacks in the amount of $30 to $50 for every shift worked.
Angelique Diaz filed the case as a class action and seeks to represent all dancers who worked at the Northeast Philadelphia club and were subject to the same unlawful policies and practices. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It is titled Diaz v 3001 Castor, Inc., case number 2:16-cv-05645.
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