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Exotic dancers are employees, may settle case

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A federal judge has found that exotic dancers at an Indianapolis club are employees, not independent contractors as the club owner argued.

Wendi R. Morse and other exotic dancers at Dancers Showclub sued their employer in October 2008 claiming the club didn’t pay them in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. They only were only paid in the tips they made and weren’t paid minimum wage.

Judge William Lawrence in the Southern District certified the suit as a class action. In June, he granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on their FLSA claim based on the factors defined in Secretary of Labor v. Lauritzen, 835 F.2d 1529, 1535 (7th Cir. 1985). The judge also relied on a similar case out of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Reich v. Circle C. Investments, Inc., 998 F.2d 324 (5th Cir. 1993), where that court found exotic dancers to be employees.

Instead of proceeding to a jury trial as previously set for December, the parties are now scheduled to participate in a joint settlement conference in September. Joining the settlement conference is Jennifer Dunn, who filed an identical suit against Dancers Showclub in February because she didn’t opt into the class-action suit in time.
 

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