Another Atlanta strip club sued by its dancers over wages

Another Atlanta strip club is being sued by its dancers who say they were illegally denied a minimum wage.

Brandy Mizner-Klearman and Suzette Maxey said they worked for tips only at Stilettos Gentlemen’s Club on Marietta St. N.W. in Atlanta. They say they also were required to kick back some of what they earned to help pay for security, a DJ and a house mom.

They’re suing Doll House II and the dancers’ supervisor, Theo Lambros, in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Several local clubs have been sued by exotic dancers in recent years including Magic City, Tattletale Lounge, Pin Ups and Pleasers. Last January, a federal judge ruled that strippers at Pin Ups were employees, not independent contractors, and were entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The business model for much of the industry is contrary to the Fair Labor Standards minimum wage and overtime requirements,” said Charles Bridgers, an attorney with DeLong Caldwell Bridgers Fitzpatrick, the Atlanta firm representing the dancers.

Attorneys for the club have not been reached.

In 2009, The Onyx, another Atlanta adult club, was sued. The case was settled with 73 dancers paid a total of $1.55 million, court records showed.

“The Onyx decision was the case that got everyone’s attention,” Bridgers said.

The latest suit states that “At all times … defendants intentionally and willfully misclassified plaintiffs as independent contractors.”

Legal experts say the distinction between determining whether a worker is an “independent contractor” or an “employee” turns on factors including how much control the employer wields over the worker, how much the employer determines the worker’s income, and the permanency of the relationship between the parties.

Another key factor, Bridgers said, is “how integral the service rendered is to the business. In the case of adult night clubs, it is their entire reason for existing.”

Mizner-Klearman and Maxey started working for Doll House II in 2013. They are seeking compensation including unpaid wages due them, plus legal costs.

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