Exotic dancers at the Tuscola Club demand wages and tips

TUSCOLA — Exotic dancers claim that a company called Dirt Cheap, Inc., which operates The Hideout Gentlemen’s Club in Tuscola, lives up to its name by refusing to pay its dancers wages and requiring the women to do so instead Paying “bribes” to management.

And now the performers, who offer $20 lap dances on the club’s Facebook page, are reclaiming their lost wages with interest and other compensation.

A class action lawsuit has been filed in US District Court naming one dancer, Tamicya Waddell, but alleging that the affected class may include more than 40 dancers who are alleged to have been defrauded for too long.

The lawsuit alleges the dancers were misclassified as “non-employee contractors and not employees” and were paid nothing by the club, not even the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. According to the lawsuit, the club now generates more than $500,000 a year in revenue.

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Athena M. Herman, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, alleges that the dancers for tips performed for three to four hours at a time under rules and conditions and time slots dictated by club management.

Herman said that club owner Mike Bickers and his family “placed dance orders, set customer prices for private and semi-private exotic dances, and set private and semi-private dance specials and promotions for customers.”

A message left at the club for Bickers asking for comment was not immediately returned on Monday.

The lawsuit further alleges that not only were the dancers unpaid and in violation of federal and state laws, but they also paid club management a “mandatory fee or bribe” of $10 to $30 or more for each shift worked had to pay. It also said the club took tips and gratuities from dancers and “referred” some of the money to “DJs and non-dancer employees.”

Now Waddell and the other dancers want the club to pay them what they see as their just desserts. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of all tips and courtesies taken from the dancers, reimbursement of all “kickback payments” and reimbursement of all hours worked at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour plus accrued interest and attorney’s fees and costs.

These payments are requested for a period of August 2019 “up to the date of judgment in this case”.

The lawsuit says it seeks a finding that “defendants’ violations of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were knowingly, intentionally, intentionally, and not a product of the defendants’ good faith.”

READ THE LAWSUIT:

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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