The class action lawsuit claimed Déjà Vu intentionally misclassified exotic dancers as independent contractors rather than employees to avoid paying minimum wage.
Déjà Vu also used the classification to illegally charge dancers “rent” for each night they worked, fees for showing up late or leaving early, and confiscated tips to pay other workers.
The clubs don’t pay any wages at all — not a penny — to dancers for working. Instead, the dancers pay to work. There are house fees at the beginning of the shift and charges for dancing and using VIP or nude rooms. Dancers must also share tips with the DJs and bouncers.
Lawyers representing exotic dancers in wage-and-hour class actions in Denver explained how they were ripped off by an illegal system:
They can end up owing money because of how much they have to pay in fees and tip-outs. So they could work a full shift and end up owing money at the end of the night. And that’s outrageous.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and many state labor laws make it illegal for employers to misclassify workers to charge inappropriate fees, rents, or avoid paying minimum wage.
The payout per dancer will depend on the club, hours worked, rent and fees paid. Dancers who take the one-time cash payout will get $200 for 6 months of work, $1,000 for 6-18 months, and $2,000 for 18 months or more.
In the future, Déjà Vu dancers who are deemed employees will get minimum wage and tips, but some money will be withheld for fees.
Dancers who choose to be independent contractors will have more flexibility in hours and costumes, but they will not get minimum wage, insurance benefits, or workers’ compensation from the club. New dancers will get to decide their classification.