Four exotic dancers at Headlights Gentleman’s Club in Norfolk sued the business’s owner and managers this week, claiming they’ve been denied wages for years and had tips illegally taken from them.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.
It’s one of many filed in federal courts across the country in recent years on behalf of exotic dancers working at adult entertainment clubs, said Los Angeles attorney John Kristensen, one of four lawyers representing the women working at the Norfolk business.
Headlights has five locations in Hampton Roads and two in North Carolina, according to its website. The Norfolk location is at 7661 Granby Street, in the Ward’s Corner area. A representative of the club could not be reached for comment Friday.The lawsuit argues Headlights illegally classifies its dancers as independent contractors. It’s a tactic, Kristensen alleged, that the club and others like it have used for years to avoid paying the women a minimum wage and overtime pay. And it’s a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, he said.
“An independent contractor is a plumber who comes to your house,” Kristensen said. “They’re working for themselves. Somebody who is there (at a business) every day is not an independent contractor. They’re an employee.”