by: Rachel Stockman Updated:ATLANTA —
More dancers at metro Atlanta adult dance clubs are coming forward saying they were not paid for working at local establishments. They are part of a series of class action lawsuits targeting adult establishments.
“I didn’t really seem right, but we didn’t have a choice, we either paid the fee or lost our job,” one dancer told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman
He said he was a Go-Go dancer at BJ Roosters on Cheshire Bridge, where he worked more than 40 hours a week at the club. He said he was paid in tips and required to pay fees.
“A fee for being late, a fee for not dancing enough, if I was sick, and couldn’t come to work one night, I had to pay a $35 fee for that,” he said.
BJ Roosters is among several dance clubs that are facing federal class action lawsuits. The lawsuits have not yet been certified.
“Not only are they not being paid overtime, they are not being paid minimum wage, and in fact they are having to pay their employer for the privilege of coming in,” said Anthony Collins, who is an attorney on the case.
Attorneys claim the establishments are violating the federal minimum wage provision of the Federal Labor Standards Act.
“It is an illegality, it’s a violation of federal law and everybody is entitled to these protections,” said Charles Blaska, another attorney on the case.
B.J. Roosters co-owner Robert Hamill issued a statement in response to the lawsuits:
“BJ Roosters is a properly licensed bar and restaurant that provides food, drink, and entertainment to its patrons. It is emphatically not a "strip club.” DJs provide music, and dancers perform in costumes, which they do not remove. Roosters believes every aspect of its business, including its employment practices and policies, complies with all relevant laws.”
Tattletale Lounge on Piedmont Road is also being sued by former dancers.
“As the economy got worse, the fee structure got more stringent ,” a dancer told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
“Tattletale Lounge is the latest adult nightclub to be sued by former dancers who seek payment of minimum wages and overtime for the time they worked there. In the recent past at least seven other Atlanta area adult clubs have been sued by dancers seeking similar results. For many years the Atlanta area adult club industry has treated dancers as independent contractors who work for tips. These lawsuits challenge that custom,” said Alan Begner, the attorney for Tattletale Lounge.