Strippers Sue Six More Las Vegas Clubs
November 14, 2014 – In the aftermath of the October 30th Nevada Supreme Court ruling against Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, attorneys representing current and former dancers at Las Vegas strip clubs filed class-action suits against multiple gentlemen’s clubs, including Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, Club Paradise, Crazy Horse III, Olympic Gardens, Treasures, and Spearmint Rhino.
On October 30th, 2014 the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that dancers qualify as employees, not independent contractors. This landmark ruling means that clubs may be ordered to pay back wages to dancers who were not paid at least minimum wage while working for the club. Attorneys representing the dancers claim that this ruling places entertainers on equal footing with workers in other industries and offers them protections not available to independent contractors. This ruling naturally also has implications for entertainers at all other clubs in Nevada.
Dancers in Las Vegas clubs are essentially forced to pay for the right to dance, and often charged additional fees when they can’t or won’t perform. This arrangement has existed for years, but the October 30th ruling means that Nevada now joins the ranks of most other states where exotic dancers are always considered employees.
Mick Rusing of Rusing and Lopez, who filed the initial suit against Sapphire, stated “The ruling sets firm precedent for Nevada that dancers are not independent contractors but employees. It puts entertainers on equal footing with all other Nevada employees. We contend that this ruling applies to current and former employees of every club in the state, and we intend to ensure our client’s rights are protected.”
“This is a huge victory for workers in Nevada,” Attorney Ryan Anderson, partner in Bighorn Law and counsel in the class-action lawsuit adds. “These clubs treated their dancers like employees, but failed to pay them accordingly. While these businesses claim they have no formal contract, they do, in fact, outline clearly what the entertainers can and can not do, what they can and can not wear, house fees, and minimum performance requirements. The employee / employer relationship is obvious. While the judgment was against Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club itself, the ruling obviously has implications for every strip club in the state.”
In a recent interview on Nevada NPR affiliate KNPR, Rusing and Anderson were asked “Some of these dancers make six figures, so why is it important for them to be paid as employees too?”
“Well, first of all, because it’s the law,” responded Anderson. “Secondly, all kinds of protections come into play once you’re an employee.”
“Our lawsuit is not about minimum wage,” Rusing adds. “It’s about establishing the fact that some amount should have been paid. Minimum wage is just a baseline. The courts will decide how much the actual wages should have been.”
The Nevada Supreme Court ruling is based on the Fair Labor Standards Act which uses the economic realities test to determine how employees are paid.
Attorneys representing the entertainers are expected to ask for a judgment in the millions representing wages back wages dating to 2009.
Bighorn Law is a law firm with offices in Nevada and Utah. Its two principal attorneys are Nathan Morris and Ryan Anderson. They can be reached for comment at (702) 333-1111.