A jury in Mississippi has awarded more than $3 million to five black strippers after a federal judge found their working conditions worse than those of their white counterparts.
According to NBC News, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate presided over a week-long trial, and jurors decided the women would split the money, including funds for back pay along with past and future suffering.
Billy Walter, attorney for Danny’s Downtown Cabaret in Jackson, said he will ask Wingate to reduce the award, with plans to appeal if Wingate declines.
“Obviously,” Walter said, “the client is disappointed in the verdict.”
According to the lone Yelp review on Danny’s business page by user Ali N., Danny’s management seemed “deranged and scary,” making patrons who received too much attention from dancers uncomfortable.
“I am considering writing a letter to the editor or creating a petition to have this place investigated,” Ali N. continued, “because I feel like it is unsafe for both the customers and the workers. Which is unfortunate because I feel like the women working there are wonderful people.”
According to NBC News, Danny’s was fined years ago after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the club limited black women’s hours and fined them $25 for failure to show for a shift, while white strippers had flexible schedules and were not fined for missed shifts.
According to the EEOC, Danny’s manager also used racial slurs against a black dancer and punished black dancers by making them work at another club with worse conditions, lower pay and more lax security.
The EEOC “will protect employees in any industry who are subjected to such blatant and repeated discrimination,” according to regional attorney Marsha Rucker. “The jury ... sent a powerful message to Danny’s and any employer who thinks they are above the law.”