It’s a stripper revolt!
Two exotic dancers — and possibly others at a later date since this could become a class action lawsuit — are suing Tootsie’s Cabaret on Northwest 183rd Street over what they claim is the joint’s illegal classification of their job, lost overtime pay and seized tips.
According to a lawsuit filed Sept. 16 in a Miami- Dade County court, dancers Leeza Garvin and Jenell Farnsworth claim the club and owner Eric Langan managed to save big money at their detriment by wrongly classifying their job as “independent contractor” instead of “entertainer employees.”
Because of that, the dancers claim, they were forced to work the nightclub for table dances and perform on stage for more than 40 hours a week without overtime pay in violation of several state labor laws.
They also worked for tips only without getting hourly wages.
What’s more, the civil complaint spells out how the ladies are forced to give up a share of their tips to other workers, including the DJ, valet, floor staff and the managers.
To add insult to injury, the lawsuit claims, the dancers were forced to pay a portion of their daily loot as “house fees” for the privilege to work there.
The case is set to center on an age-old argument when it comes to strippers: Are they contractors or employees?
If you believe Garvin and Farnsworth, they are employees because the club holds auditions, hires and fires them, tells them what to wear or not, schedules shifts, trains and sets the price of their services, including the usually more expensive “champagne room dances.”
The ladies’ attorney didn’t return calls for comment, and a manager at Tootsie’s said staffers don’t comment on business. The club has yet to be served the suit.