Citing Labor Law, DC Exotic Dancer Sues Club Over Wages

Tip drills aren't free.

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Because someone removes their clothes for money doesn't mean they deserve to be paid unfairly. A DC stripper know this and is taking a local club to court

To hear Quansa Thompson talk of her life as an exotic dancer, to listen to her describe how men offer cash as she sashays, gyrates and jiggles the night away, is to evoke a thousand titillating thoughts, not a single one having anything to do with the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

That is, until Thompson brings up the Depression-era law, which she discovered last summer after being fired by her then-employer, The House, a den of prurient entertainment on Georgia Avenue NW. Thompson is suing The House in U.S. District Court, alleging that the club pays dancers no wages but ought to under the law. The club has denied the charge.

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On a given night, Thompson said, she could earn as much as $1,200, enough to inspire an arched eyebrow from the bank teller when she went to make the deposit. She said she made $80,000 to $100,000 a year, enough to buy herself a Grand Marquis, rent an apartment, take college-level classes, accumulate savings and fancy herself a budding Warren Buffett, whose biography she has read ("He's a hustler, just like me"). Not bad for a woman who grew up in group homes in St. Louis, has no immediate family and says she once spent eight months in prison for armed robbery.

Yet Thompson said that aspects of the stripping life bothered her. The House paid her and the other dancers $20 for showing up each day, with the understanding that they could keep their tips after they paid the management a couple of fees -- $20 to the DJ, $20 to the bartender. If a dancer was late to the stage, Thompson said, the club charged a $10 penalty. The fine for missing a shift was $80, even if it was because of an illness, which is what Thompson claimed when she didn't show up for work one night last year.

Continue reading from the SOURCE: THE WASHINGTON POST

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