West Virginia Exotic Dancers Might Be Compelled to Arbitration Due to Arbitration Clause
Three exotic dancers in a Martinsburg, West Virginia club known as Paradise City 2, filed a class action lawsuit against their employers for allegedly taking an unfair amount from the women’s tips. However, on March 26th, the club’s owners and attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case due to an arbitration clause in its employment contract with the dancers.
The three women—Man Le Garrett, Krystal McLaughlin and Jane Roe (a pseudonym)—claim that their employers are in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collections Act. However, their class action claim is likely to be compelled into individual arbitration due to the language within the arbitration clause they each signed with the club.
According to the employment contract signed by all parties, “Any controversy, dispute or claim arising out of this lease or otherwise out of Entertainer performing at the premises of the club shall be exclusively decided by binding arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act.” Additionally, in language that dissuades class action, the agreement states that the “Entertainer agrees that all claims between her and the club will be litigated individually and that she will not consolidate or seek class treatment for any claim.”
According to the dancers’ claims, the manager of the club, Warren Dellinger, required payment from each dancer that would come out of their tips. In addition to paying to work their shifts, each woman was required to pay $35 out of her tips received for a private dance and $30 out of her tips received for a 30-minute dance in the champagne room. After being employed at the club for several months, the women requested representation by Martinsburg attorney Garry Geffert and Maryland attorney Gregg C. Greenberg of the Zipin Law Firm.
The women are awaiting a decision regarding whether they will be allowed to continue their class action suit if a judge finds the clause they signed to be unconscionable under the given circumstances.