Dancers Say Hustler Club Stripped Them of Minimum Wage

New York Post Rich Calder
February 23, 2015

It’s court or bust for yet another group of Manhattan strippers.

The exotic dancers at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club have become the latest jiggle-joint workers to file a class-action lawsuit seeking rightful wages and tips.

The new class-action suit alleges that the Hells Kitchen skin-and-sin mecca illegally classifies its strippers as independent contractors ” and not in-house employees to avoid paying them minimum wage.

The club, named after the infamous porn king, also illegally takes a cut of the workers’ lap-dance earnings by pushing customers to use pre-paid vouchers called Beaver Bucks ” instead of cash, according to the Manhattan Federal Court suit.

The dancers’ lawyer, Justin Swartz, told The Post that the club has refused to clean up its act ” even though other jiggle joints in the city have been forced to cough up multimillion-dollar payouts for similar violations.

For example, Rick’s Cabaret’s was ordered to shell out $10.8 million in November to current and former dancers who were wrongfully misclassified as independent contractors. ”

And a month earlier, strippers at New York Dolls, FlashDancers and Private Eyes landed a combined $4.3 million settlement.

The suit claims dancers are required to pay out-of-pocket house fees ” for the right to perform.

They also must buy and maintain club-approved uniforms ” and pay fines ” to the club owners if they don’t make a shift.

Stripper are being screwed out of lap-dance money, too, because customers are encouraged to use their credit cards to pay for dances, the suit says. The customers usually the club’s biggest spenders obtain vouchers called Beaver Bucks ” when they use their credit cards, and the club retains a portion of the tip when the dancer later exchanges ” the funny money for cash, ” the suit says.

Consequently, customers who believe they are tipping entertainers a certain amount are actually tipping them less, ” the suit says.

Although the suit doesn’t specify money damages, Swartz said more than 1,000 current and former Hustler Club dancers could be eligible to join the class-action claim, potentially putting the club on the hook to make it rain ” millions of dollars in damages.

Flynt is not listed in court records as an owner of the Hustler Club despite his named being slapped on its front entrance. Messages left with the club were not returned.

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