BY: Charles Ash, IV | IN: Employment Law
An exotic dancer suing a Philadelphia strip club for wage and hour violations is asking the judge in her case to sanction the club for failing to participate in the required discovery process.
Angelique Diaz filed the federal lawsuit against Philadelphia’s Penthouse Club alleging that the club misclassified dancers as independent contractors rather than employees. This is a common allegation against strip clubs and has led to several multimillion-dollar settlements with dancers over the past few years. By classifying dancers as independent contractors, club owners try to avoid paying dancers a base hourly wage as required for employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA).
In her class action suit, Diaz alleges that the Penthouse Club exercised a high level of control over the dancers, including set schedules, disciplinary actions, instructions on uniform/outfits, and other factors that are typically present in an employer and employee relationship. She also alleges that dancers were required to pay management illegal kickbacks in the amount of $30 to $50 for every shift they worked.
Diaz and her attorneys issued written discovery requests to the club. However, they claimed that the club’s answers were insufficient, vague, and incomplete. The judge agreed and ordered the Penthouse Club to supplement their responses and provide complete answers. The club failed to do so. In her motion seeking sanctions, Diaz asserts that “Defendant’s refusal to supplement or produce verified responses has severely prejudiced plaintiff’s ability to engage in efforts to fully prepare to prosecute and present her case.”
The lawsuit, Diaz v 3001 Castor, Inc., remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
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Charles R. Ash, IV is a Shareholder in Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation groups. A substantial portion of Rob’s practice is devoted to collective and class actions arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and similar state laws.