Back in June, organized labor notched an unlikely victory in last place you'd expect: the strip club.
A class-action lawsuit organized by savvy ex-dancers took on Scarlett's, the popular gentleman's club with locations in Hallandale, Ybor City, Florida, and Toledo, Ohio. The clubs' owners agreed to settle the case in June for $6 million. The challenge now is to find the 4,700 former dancers who are eligible for payouts as part of the suit. To receive settlement money, they must meet an upcoming deadline.
The lawsuit, filed by former dancer Adonay Encarnacion, alleged that by treating dancers as "independent contractors" and not as full-time employees, the clubs were illegally cheating women out of full pay and benefits. Before those issues could be wrestled over in a courtroom, the lawsuit settled.
The $6 million is meant to restore a portion of what the dancers should have earned had they been classified as full-time employees. Per the settlement, eligible women will be able to "receive cash payments over a 24-month period, depending on the amount of time during which they performed at one or more of the Scarlett's Nightclubs."
However, the clock is ticking.
"Although the lawsuit went into settlement in February, claim forms were just mailed out around Thursday, June 23, 2015," Encarnacion told New Times. "I am still fighting to inform 4,700 women of the rights to claim, and desperately searching to inform them before the deadline on October 19, 2015. It is a continuous work in progress to reach justice, and such work requires outside support from fellow advocates."
The website where former dancers can get more information is www.scarlettscabaretlawsuit.com. Eligible individuals are "exotic dancers who performed at Scarlett's of Hallandale, and/or Scarlett's of Ybor Strip between December 4, 2009 and February 2, 2015 and exotic dancers who performed at Scarlett’s of Toledo between December 4, 2011 and February 2, 2015," according to the fine print.
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