- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - An exotic dancer from the Peoria area has filed a federal lawsuit against the strip club where she works claiming the business is violating state and federal labor laws because it doesn’t pay her a minimum wage.

Aleigha Woods filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Peoria. She’s seeking class-action status to cover about 100 other dancers at Club Cabaret in Creve Coeur.

The lawsuit alleges that dancers at the club are treated like employees instead of “independent contractors” because it controls every aspect of their work environment.

The dancers must pay a nightly “house fee” to perform on stage and face fines if they don’t follow the club’s rules, such as chewing gum while on stage or not smiling while performing, the lawsuit claims. The club also controls what the dancers charge for dances, what they can wear and when they work, it says.

The lawsuit claims all of those examples prove that the club views the dancers as employees, and not as independent contractors, meaning they are entitled to a minimum wage.

“Defendants’ failure to pay entertainers prescribed wages is willful and recklessness, in part, because Defendant knows it treats entertainers as employees in fact and that entertainers who worked under similar circumstances have been found to qualify as ‘employees’ under the (Fair Labor Standard Act) in similar cases across the country,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges violations to the state’s Minimum Wage Law and seeks back pay, damages and a notice to others who may have been harmed by the club for nonpayment of wages.

A manager at Club Cabaret declined to comment Monday afternoon to the (Peoria) Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1Q3P4Os ).

Creve Coeur is a village just outside of Peoria.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com

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