One of the biggest issues that arises in wage and hour litigation is misclassification
– such as when you’re employer labels you an “independent
contractor” instead of an employee or a “non-exempt employee,”
instead of an exempt one. How you are classified can significantly impact
many issues, including your take home pay, whether you are entitled to
benefits and whether you receive overtime pay.
A recent case out of Georgia looked at whether adult entertainers at the
Foxy Lady Lounge should be considered employees, rather than independent
contractors, and thus be entitled to wages. If you have questions concerning
how you are classified it is important to consult with an experienced
Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away to ensure you are receiving all the pay you deserve.
In this instance, two former Foxy Lady dancers alleged that the lounge
violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay the workers
overtime wages. Pursuant to the FLSA, all non-exempt employees who work
in excess of 40 hours in any work week are entitled to overtime pay at
a rate of one and one half times their standard rate of pay. Representatives
of the dancers are trying to file this case as a special type of lawsuit,
a class action, brought on behalf of at least fifty dancers who have been
allegedly underpaid by the lounge.
In this instance, the federal lawsuit, filed in May, alleges that the Foxy
Lady Lounge misclassified its adult dancers as “independent contractors”
instead of “employees” to avoid paying them federally-mandated
overtime pay and minimum wage.
Generally, independent contractors have control over their work, including
not only what will be done but also how it will be done. However, where
your employer maintains control over how your services are performed,
you may be an employee – this applies even if you have some freedom.
What matters is whether the employer controls the details of how the services
In addition to raising questions concerning whether the workers were misclassified,
the wage and hour lawsuit also alleges that rather than paying the dancers
an hourly wage, the strip club charged its dancers a “house fee”
of at least $20 per shift to work at the club. The club also purportedly
charged the dancers additional fees or fines for talking back to Foxy
Lady’s management, failing to clean the dressing room and bathroom,
or other violations of the club’s policies, according to documents
filed with the court. The lawsuit alleges that these fees amount to unlawful
“kickbacks” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Misclassification is a serious issue. If you believe that your employer
may have improperly classified you, it is important that you contact a top
Atlanta wage and hour attorney The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.