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Men’s Clubs Entertainers Wage and Tip Violations Massachusetts Class Action

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Workers are often forced to pay fees for business expenses and other things that they shouldn’t be paying, but it seems that female entertainers at “gentlemen’s clubs” are particularly susceptible to this kind of exploitation. The complaint for this class action takes issue with certain charges entertainers were forced to pay out of what they earned at Mardi Gras Entertainment, Inc. and its related clubs, Center Stage (Bino, Inc.), Anthony’s Dance Club, Inc., and Fifth Alarm, Inc. in Massachusetts.

The class for this action is entertainers currently or formerly employed by the defendants in Massachusetts, at any of the Massachusetts locations, between January 15, 2017 through the date of judgment of this action.

The case is brought by three plaintiffs who worked at the clubs. 

  • Plaintiff Leah LaRock worked from January 2007 to January 2016, was classified as an employee, and received a base hourly wage plus additional amounts as tips.
  • Plaintiff Emily McKay was similarly classified as an employee earning a base rate plus tips between December 2015 and January 2016. After that, she worked “off the books” and earned only tips, between January 2016 and June 2017.
  • Plaintiff Lindsie Cohen worked from February 2015 to January 2017. During that time, she received only tips for her work.

These entertainers were required to pay two charges in particular that the complaint alleges to be illegal.

First, they were required to pay “locker rental fees” of $25 to $100 per shift “for each shift worked, whether or not said Entertainer actually used a facility locker.” The complaint says that these fees “constitute a disguised ‘fee to work’ which is prohibited by state law.”

Second, they were required to pay disc jockeys $15 to $20 per shift as a “DJ fee.” The complaint says that these fees “constitute improper wage deductions in violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act” and “deprived Entertainers of the full value of the tips to which they were entitled in violation of the Massachusetts Tip Law…”

Before 2010, the clubs required that entertainers pay a “house fee” of $45 to $100 per shift as a condition of working there. However, a lawsuit was filed and the club ended up paying a settlement of $1,800,000. The complaint alleges that the clubs simply changed the name of the fee to a “locker fee,” but that it remains mandatory and unlawful. 

The complaint alleges that the clubs’ “deductions from pay in the form of fees exceeded the hourly Service Rate paid to Employees and, by necessity, were paid, in part of in whole, out of the tips received by Entertainers, violating the Massachusetts Tip Law.”

The counts include failure to pay minimum wage or proper wages, failure to pay overtime wages, violation of the Tip Law.

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