Court Strips Defendants of Defense that Exotic Dancers Represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP are Independent Contractors

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The dancers brought the suit in 2009 under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), alleging that the club misclassified them as independent contractors and, consequently, failed to pay them the minimum wages due under the FLSA.

Nichols Kaster, PLLP
We are thrilled with the Court’s decision, which like numerous decisions before it, recognizes that the relationship between a club and its dancers is an employer-employee relationship.

On September 7, 2011, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted summary judgment in favor of the approximately 80 current and former exotic dancers represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP who are suing Atlanta’s Club Onyx for unpaid wages. The dancers brought the suit in 2009 under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), alleging that the club misclassified them as independent contractors and, consequently, failed to pay them the minimum wages due under the FLSA. In response to the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment and after a thorough discussion of the “economic realities” of the dancers’ and club’s relationship, Judge Richard W. Story ruled, “The Court has found that the Club’s degree of control over the work of entertainers, the entertainers’ opportunity for profit and loss, the entertainers’ relative investment, the lack of specialized skill required to be an entertainer, and the integral nature of nude entertainment to the Club’s business support a finding that an employer-employee relationship existed between the Club and Plaintiffs. Considering these factors that the Eleventh Circuit has identified as relevant, and in light of the record as a whole, the Court finds that Plaintiffs should have been classified as employees under the FLSA.” The Court then ordered the parties to mediate the case.

Plaintiffs’ Counsel Anna Prakash stated, “We are thrilled with the Court’s decision, which like numerous decisions before it, recognizes that the relationship between a club and its dancers is an employer-employee relationship.”

Plaintiffs are represented by Steven Andrew Smith, E. Michelle Drake, and Anna P. Prakash from Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. The case is entitled Clincy, et al. v. Galardi South Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a The Onyx, et al., No. 1:09-cv-02082-RWS (N.D. Ga.) Additional information about the case can be found at http://www.nka.com.

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