A group of exotic dancers who claim they were stiffed by the Penthouse Executive Club can go ahead with a class action suit against the upscale jiggle joint, a judge ruled today.
Nine strippers and a makeup artist -- who say the Hell’s Kitchen club didn’t pay minimum wage or overtime and confiscated part of their tips -- were granted conditional class action certification by US district court judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.
The court ruling means the women can seek other Penthouse club dancers to join the lawsuit.
In court papers, dancers ........ claimed the mammary mecca, along with owner Robert Gans and manager Mark Yakow, violated federal and state labor laws through ``a number of unlawful’’ moves.
In addition to not paying minimum wage and overtime, the Penthouse Club also charges dancers a ``house fee’’ for dance shifts. the women claimed.
The club also shortchanges the talent by deducting a 20 percent premium when girls exchange the house-issued ``Executive Dollars’’ -- which patrons sometimes use to tip -- for cash, the suit alleges.
Also on the laundry list of grievances: the club’s insistence that dancers pay for their own uniforms (thongs, but no g-strings) and remain on stage for at least three songs.
In its own court filings, the club argued that the girls are independent contractors and not subject to some labor laws.
Judge Buchwald called the defendants’ argument ``flawed’’ and said it ``bordered on specious.’’
The judge also ordered Penthouse Club execs to turn over to the women a list of dancers’ names, addresses and phone numbers. The list will be used to identify others who might want to join the lawsuit.