28,000 exotic dancers granted millions in back payments in the US

A chain of clubs in the US was accused of treating its dancers as independent contractors

28,000 exotic dancers granted millions in back payments in the US

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A federal judge in Detroit has approved a $6.5 million settlement (€5.8 million) in a wage dispute involving 28,000 current or former exotic dancers at a chain of clubs operating in 18 states.

The class action lawsuit accused Deja Vu-affiliated clubs of violating US wage laws but regarding topless or nude dancers as independent contractors.

Some dancers will receive less than $200 (€179) under the settlement. District Judge Stephen Murphy III said dancers will have an opportunity to be classified as employees, and dancers who wish to work as contractors will share in a $4.5 million (€4.03 million) pool of credits included in the agreement to offset fees charged by clubs.

Filed in 2016, the lawsuit was brought forward by a dancer in Saginaw, Michigan, who said she was classified as a contractor and wasn't paid minimum wages as required under federal law.

She said she was required to share tips with management and other employees, and pay dance fees. California-based Deja Vu Services argued its financial arrangements were legal.

The deal means "an improved screening system to accurately classify workers, an enhanced offer of employment and increased benefits and protections for employees and independent contractors alike," Murphy wrote in his ruling.