Columbia-Area Strippers Sue Clubs for Federal Minimum Wage Violations
A group of strippers in the Columbia area are suing several South Carolina night clubs because they were not paid according to federal minimum wage standards.
The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in South Carolina earlier in 2014, accuses strip clubs in Columbia and Greenville of violating federal minimum wage and overtime provisions according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The case is similar to other federal minimum wage lawsuits in other states – one case from last year, in New York state, was ruled in favor of the strippers, whom the judge declared were protected by federal labor laws and should make at least minimum wage.
The three South Carolina women are suing Heart Breakers Gentlemen’s Club and Platinum Plus, both of which have clubs in Columbia and Greenville. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is 22-year-old Kaleigh Dittus of Lexington County, who used the stage name Katara while working for Heartbreakers and Platinum Plus. She said she was fired after she complained about the clubs’ policies of hiring dancers as independent contractors, which allowed the clubs to charge a “house fee” for the exotic dancers to work there. As employees, according to Dittus, the strippers were also required to share their tips with mangers, bouncers, and DJs.
“Without the stripper, there is no strip club,” Dittus said in an interview with The State this week. “I felt like we should be treated better.”
Club operators deny the allegations that they violated federal minimum wage laws, because the dancers were contract employees who were compensated fairly according to independent contract law, and collected tipped wages in excess of minimum wage. The club operators even filed a countersuit seeking reimbursement for unpaid “dance fees” and the strippers’ wages.
The lawsuit is a class action minimum wage lawsuit. Dittus’s attorney stated that the “house fees” charged by the operations were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states that employers cannot tip share with employees unless the employees make minimum wage.
Federal Minimum Wage Exclusions
If you feel your employer is not paying you Federal minimum wage, you may need to seek the advice of a South Carolina business litigation attorney. Your company, by law, is required to pay you at least $7.25 per hour unless you make tips.
The only people excluded from making $7.25 an hour are those receiving tips. If you work in a job where you receive tips, your company may only be required to pay you $2.13 an hour.
In order for this exclusion to apply the amount of tips you receive must equal at least the federal minimum wage. You must also retain all of your tips and must regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. Your employer is required to pay the difference if your tips and wages do not equal the federal minimum wage.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Federal Minimum Wage Violation Cases
Many times people are afraid to confront their employer regarding wage matters. A South Carolina business litigation attorney at the Strom Law Firm, LLC can assist you in seeking back pay if you are not receiving the federal minimum wage. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation regarding your minimum wage case. 803.252.4800