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Pa Judge Rules That Exotic Dancers Are Not Independent Contractors

A Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled that a former exotic dancer may proceed with her case against a Philadelphia gentleman’s club that she claims cheated dancers out of minimum wage and overtime pay.

Priya Verma filed a federal suit against The Penthouse Club@Philly in May 2013 alleging the club had improperly classified dancers as independent contractors instead of employees. According to the complaint, the Department of Labor previously has recognized that dancers are employees and entitled to protection under various state and federal wage and hour laws.

The Penthouse Club filed a motion to have the case dismissed. Its claimed the club did not pay the dancers and only rented stage time to them. The club argued that it was the customers who paid performers for stage and private lap dances. The dancers were merely “independent contractors.”  U.S. District Judge Anita Brody denied the motion and noted the club acted as an employer because it set the fees a dancer could charge for private dances and could determine how the women dressed and wore their hair and makeup. Brody also pointed out that the club could impose fines on a dancer for being late ($10), not using the stairs ($25), or leaving her shift early ($100). It could also fire the women at any time.

Many other people are improperly designated as independent contractors when they are really employees.  This designation can entitle them to Pa comp benefits, if injured while on the job, as well as other state and federal benefits.  These types of injuries can make up a Pa. workers’ comp claim. If you’ve experienced any type of issue while on the job or because of it, contact the law offices of Schmidt Kramer. We may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.

If you know someone who was injured on the job, we encourage you to share this information with him or her.