A former dancer at Goldfingers Gentlemen’s Club on Miramar Road has filed a class-action lawsuit faulting her ex-employer of failing to pay a living wage. It is the second class-action lawsuit filed against strip clubs this year: last month a former dancer at Cheetahs made similar accusations.
The lawsuit, originally filed in state court in April of this year, was moved to federal court this week. Attorneys for Goldfingers estimate that if all dancers join the class-action lawsuit and if a judge rules in their favor the lawsuit could mean a $5,000,000 payout by the club.
The woman, known as Jane Doe, says that dancers and other employees were not given breaks during long shifts, nor were they paid an hourly wage. Instead, dancers relied on tips from patrons for onstage and private dances.
"[Dancers were] forced to pay fees or tip out the DJ and/or bouncer, and/or 'house' for each dance performed...failure to comply with Goldfingers' request would prevent her or her colleagues from procuring or retaining employment with Goldfingers," reads the suit.
The club's policy of hiring dancers as independent contractors instead of employees is an industry-wide standard, one that some general managers say benefits both the club and the dancer.
"When we hire an entertainer, they are given the choice of being an employee or a space lessee, much like a hairdresser," said Cheetahs general manager Rich Buonantony in a June 22 email. "As an independent contractor, the girl comes and goes as she pleases, basically does what she wants whereas, an employee comes in set hours, dances who we tell them to dance for, and so forth. The women I have here prefer to be independent contractors."
During the course of the past couple of years, strippers across the country have filed similar lawsuits. As a result, some strip clubs were ordered to pay out hefty sums to the women. In 2012, according to media reports, Santa Barbara strip joint Spearmint Rhino paid $12.9 million to dancers in their lawsuit.
Both San Diego cases will work their way through the courts.