- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Lincoln, Nebraska, judge has ruled in favor of an exotic dancer who sued a club where she performed, saying she qualifies as an employee and is owed thousands of dollars in back pay.

Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong ruled this week that the club, called Shakers, owes Elizabeth Mays more than $7,500, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/2oPP9Jr ) reported.

Mays had a lease agreement with Shakers, where she worked from March 2012 to February 2014 and kept tips.

Shakers attorney Bob Creager argued Mays was neither an independent contractor nor an employee and shouldn’t get hourly pay because she benefited from the lease agreement.

But the judge ruled that that argument is flawed because the tips she received were paid by the customers, while Shakers paid her nothing.

“To the contrary, plaintiff paid defendants to ‘lease’ space to perform,” Strong said, referring to the flat fee Mays was required to pay to use the stage and dressing room.

Mays‘ attorney, Kathleen Neary, said that the dancer was technically an employee under state law because of the 50 or more “house rules” beyond the lease that she was required to comply with.

“The rules controlled the dancers’ movement, their dress, their dancing … and their attendance at mandatory meetings,” Strong wrote.

The judge also wrote that Shakers depends upon dancers like Mays to bring in customers for profit, “thus the dancers are an integral part of defendants’ business.”

Neary said the ruling has the potential to impact the rights of many workers who have been mischaracterized as independent contractors.

Ms. Mays stood up for what she knew was right and just,” she said.

Shakers’ attorney didn’t immediately respond to phone messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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