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Dancers Accuse NYC's Penthouse Club Of Pay Violations

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A class of current and former exotic dancers at the Penthouse Executive Club in New York accused the venue Thursday of a host of employment violations, including failure to pay overtime and confiscation of tips.  Former dancer Victoria Hunter filed the suit on behalf of the class, alleging the club owners took advantage of the dancers by failing to pay overtime, confiscating tips, charging a “house fee” for the privilege of working there, and other violations of federal and state labor laws, according to the suit.  “The Penthouse Club ... boasts that it employs ‘the most splendid entertainers in the world,’” the suit said. “However, [it] appears not to appreciate workers who allow it to make such boasts.”  Hunter’s attorney, Justin M. Swartz of Outten & Golden LLP, said the suit was filed after the club owners balked at Hunter’s desire to join another class action alleging widespread workplace violations by the famed strip club.

The other suit is In re Penthouse Executive Club Compensation Litigation, and is currently pending in New York. Swartz said he expected the two legal actions to be combined at some point in the future.  In Hunter’s suit, the dancers allege the club encourages customers to tip them not with cash, but with fake currency called Executive Money, which is later exchanged for real money, the suit says.  The club charges customers who purchase Executive Money a 20 percent “service charge,” which is kept by the club and not distributed to customer service workers, the suit says.  When the dancers exchange the bogus cash for real dollars, the club again takes another cut for itself, according to the complaint. (click on link to read full story)

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