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Strippers File Class Action Lawsuit against Baby Dolls Club
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Demi Moore in the movie ‘Striptease.’

Summary: Exotic dancers in Florida have filed a class action wage lawsuit against the Clearwater club, Baby Dolls.

While strippers may dazzle with their bodies and pole acrobatics, they often aren’t taken care of by club owners when it comes to wages and benefits. This has resulted in lawsuits popping up around the country. Recently, a number of exotic dancers filed a class action lawsuit against the strip club Baby Dolls in Clearwater, Florida because of alleged wage theft.


According to TBO The Tampa Tribune, attorney W. John Gadd is representing the strippers, which include Alexa Rohlsen. Rohlsen said she danced to pay her way through cosmetology school, but she dislikes whenever she makes little to no money but has to pay the club and DJ fees. After getting injured working the stripper pole and having no insurance, she decided to join the lawsuit.

In the stripping industry, it is typical for dancers to pay the club and DJ to be able to dance on the stage and use the facilities. Club owners say that dancers aren’t employees, though. They’re independent contractors of lessees who rent out the space.


A busy night at Baby Dolls. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

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But judges tend to side with the strippers and say that they are misclassified employees. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are entitled to paid wages and benefits such as insurance and workers’ compensation. Similar lawsuits filed in Massachusetts, California, and New York have sided with the dancers. In South Florida, clubs have been sued or settled.

“There is no other comparator for this type of scheme in any other industry of which I am aware. I am not aware of any other business that directs the employment of their employees while charging the employees to work there,” Gadd said.

For instance, Gadd said that Baby Dolls set rules for work. They listed prices, dictated a clothing policy, and had shifts. Rohlsen said she would get in trouble if she showed up late.

Luke Lirot is the attorney representing Baby Dolls and other Tampa-area strip clubs. He acknowledged that courts tend to rule against the strip clubs and their owners most of the time.

Lirot told TBO The Tampa Tribune that it is not in the dancers best interest to become employees because they could make more money through fees and tips than if they only got minimum wage. He has also helped his clients avoid future problems by having them draw up official lease agreements with dancers that include an arbitration clause. He said these lease agreements are similar to what hairdressers sign when they rent a booth at a salon.

Lirot filed a motion to dismiss a previous stripper case and send it to arbitration, but he admitted that he couldn’t find some arbitration agreements signed by dancers in the suits. He said some dancers at Baby Dolls signed an arbitration agreement, but he could not find Rohlsen’s.

Source: TBO The Tampa Tribune



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