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Strip Clubs that Denied Dancers ‘Legal Wages’ Agree to $4.3M Payout

New York Daily News—Rich Calder

The owners of three Manhattan strip clubs have agreed to shell out $4.3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with former dancers who claimed they were denied legal wages and also forced to follow a long list of rules — including no gum chewing — in order to shed their clothes at the high-end skin palaces, new court records show.

Melody Flynn, of Brooklyn, and Martina Antoinette de Truff, of Manhattan, have reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit they filed last year in Manhattan federal court against the management at the Flashdancers, Private Eyes and New York Dolls clubs, according to court papers filed Monday night.

The settlement deal, which still must be approved by Judge Ronald Ellis, includes the $4.3 million payoff on the suit filed on behalf of Flynn, de Truff and at least 100 other strippers who have worked at the clubs since 2007.

“We are satisfied with the settlement, and I think the other side is also,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Justin Swartz, told The Post.

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The suit alleged that the jiggle joints unfairly made dancers “maintain at least three sets of uniforms — two gowns and one swimsuit — for each shift worked.” The gals were also allegedly prohibited from “using glitter and/or heavy perfume,” “carrying cellphones on the dance floor” and “chewing gum while at work.”

The work rules were included in the suit to bolster claims that father-and-son owners Barry Lipsitz and Barry Lipsitz Jr. illegally misclassified their dancers as “independent contractors” in order to deny them minimum wage and overtime payments.

The suit was filed days after Manhattan federal Judge Paul Engelmayer cited similar work rules as evidence that rival club Rick’s Cabaret misclassified its dancers as independent contractors.

Former strippers at Rick’s Cabaret had filed a $5-million-plus class-action lawsuit in 2009, alleging that the club violated federal and state labor laws by failing to pay them a salary.

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