A Lexington strip club bypassed exotic dancers and made them do “illegal bribes” at the club, a woman has charged in a federal lawsuit.
The complaint states that Platinum Dolls did not pay the dancers the required minimum wage or overtime for working more than 40 hours per week at the East New Circle Road club.
The lawsuit seeks at least $ 100,000 in compensatory damages for the former dancer who filed it, as well as other damages and back wages.
He also seeks to act as collective action for the other dancers who have worked at the club for the past three years. This number would exceed 100, according to the lawsuit.
Lawyers for Priscilla Rosado-Cruz filed a lawsuit last week in federal court in Lexington. The complaint states that Rosado-Cruz, who was living in Kentucky at the time, was a dancer at the club for a year starting in August 2018.
The lawsuit is against Lexington Golf & Travel LLC, which operates as Platinum Dolls; two member companies, Act Distributors and GDT (DE) LLC; and Charles G. “Jerry” Westlund Jr., who she said was or still is a major owner and manager.
The lawsuit said the club incorrectly classified the dancers as independent contractors and not as employees. The aim was to avoid paying them properly, the lawsuit alleges.
The dancers received only tips, no hourly wages, according to the complaint.
Instead, the club should have classified the dancers as employees and paid them the federal minimum wage of $ 2.13 for tipped employees, as well as overtime, according to the lawsuit.
Platinum Dolls also allegedly falsely asked Rosado-Cruz and other dancers to share their tips with employees such as managers, disc jockeys and bouncers, and imposed a fee.
“The girls end up subsidizing the club,” said John P. Kristensen, an attorney from Los Angeles who represents Rosado Cruz with Liz J. Shepherd, an attorney from Louisville.
Kristensen said there had been a number of similar lawsuits around the country in which strip clubs claimed the dancers were independent contractors. These arguments “have been summarily dismissed” in a number of courts, Kristensen said.
A Georgia federal judge said in a 2019 ruling that courts look at several factors in determining whether a worker is a contractor or an employee, including company control over how workers do their jobs.
US District Judge Michael L. Brown said that recently “other courts have examined the relationship between adult performers and the clubs where they perform, finding almost universally that adult performers are employees.”
People who answered calls from Platinum Dolls said the club had not commented on the lawsuit.
A group of 17 models sued Lexington Golf & Travel in April 2020 for allegedly using their photos in social media ads without permission or payment.
The models have agreed to settlements with the club and two of its insurance companies, court records show.
Court records do not disclose the amount of the settlements, but lawyers argued in a petition that $ 255,000 was a reasonable payment in an agreement covering six of the women.