Adult industry workers suing over work permit charges



ATLANTA - Adult entertainment employees are suing the city of Atlanta.

A lawsuit was filed this last week accusing the city of overcharging for workers' permits.

Those who work in the adult entertainment industry were reluctant to talk with Channel 2 Action News about a lawsuit filed by six members of their own working community.

One man who has been in the industry more than 20 years agreed to an interview with Channel 2's Liz Artz if she agreed not to identify him or his business.

"Somebody really stepped up because a lot of us in our industry think it's unfair," he said.

He's talking about a $375 annual permit fee he has to pay to work in the industry. It's a mandatory annual fee. Everyone is required to pay. And it's not transferable from one club to another.

'It does not matter if you are an entertainer, a DJ a waitress, a bartender a sweeper or take out the garbage," he said.

In part, the fee is for background checks and fingerprints.

"I believe it is $20 for fingerprints and $50 for a background check and the other $300, I don't know," the man told Artz.

The lawsuit alleges the fees are greater than the administration cost associated with the fee. They believe ultimately they are being taxed on the First Amendment. Artz checked and found Sandy Springs charges a $55 permit on its adult entertainers – roughly the cost for background checks and fingerprints.

One woman who is relatively new to the business, however, is just thankful for a job.

"If that means I have to purchase a permit every year to do so then guess what I'm going to do it if that's what pays my bills," she said.

Those who filed this suit maintain that other business with bartenders, or cocktail waitresses don't have to pay a high permitting fee.

Artz reached out to the city of Atlanta Friday. A spokesperson said they have seen the complaint, but they are not going to comment on pending litigation.

Channel 2 Action News

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