Attorney Justin Swartz in New York City focuses much of his practice on representing female dancers at adult entertainment nightclubs. These claims involve violations of federal and state labor laws. Many clubs categorize the dancers as "independent contractors" rather than employees, which allows the clubs to avoid following the rules set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, the clubs cannot just claim a dancer is an independent contractor and make it true - there must be certain requirements met; otherwise, the dancer is in fact an employee. Where the club sets the dancer's hours and controls what she wears and/or does, she is an employee and must be treated as such. By skirting the law on this issue, the clubs are able to avoid paying the dancers minimum wage and overtime hours as would be required if they are "employees." Mr. Swartz has settled many of these cases over violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act - one case settled for $10.8 million. Even beyond the FLSA issues, the dancers classified as independent contractors meet with trouble when fired and they seek unemployment benefits, or when they get hurt on the job and seek workers' compensation benefits - both of which are reserved only for employees. Still, the clubs continue to assert that the dancers are independent contractors and even that the strip club's "essential business" is providing food and drink such that the dancers are a mere secondary part of the strip club business. Difficult to believe that argument would win in any court.
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