Dancers at Penthouse Executive Club, who are claiming that they were cheated out of tips and wages, were granted conditional class certification status in their lawsuit. The decision was issued on October 27, 2010 by Naomi Reice Buchwald, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York.
The dancers alleged that Penthouse, an adult entertainment club, engaged in a number of unlawful practices, including, failing to pay dancers minimum wage; failing to pay dancers for overtime worked; encouraging customers to tip dancers in house scrip or “Executive Dollars,” rather than in cash, and then deducting twenty percent of the face value of the scrip as a service charge when dancers exchange the Executive Dollars for cash; charging dancers a “house fee” for each shift that they dance at the Club; and requiring dancers to purchase and wear a uniform – including gowns, high heels, and undergarments – that meets precise specifications. Penthouse has taken the position that dancers are independent contractors and therefore the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law do not apply with respect to their claims for tips and wages.
As a result of Judge Buchwald’s Order, dancers who worked at Penthouse Executive Club for the last three years may be eligible to join the case.