Esther Sue Eliazio, a Dallas stripper, works hard for her money–and she wants to be treated right. But, she argues in a lawsuit that a “family of gentlemen’s clubs” for whom she dances more than 40 hours a week– haven’t been paying her what they are supposed to.
According to Eliazio, the defendants operating the Baby Dolls Topless Saloons, DB Entertainment, BDS Restaurant, and Baby Dolls of Dallas have not paid her the overtime they owe her, nor have they paid her any actual wages. Instead, the lawsuit claims, she has had to rely exclusively on tips. What’s more, she claims her employers required her to share her tips with management, disc jockeys and other employees, her lawyer, Galvin Kennedy, of Kennedy Hodges, LLP, in Houston, told ABC News.
“There’s no actual income or compensation from the club to the dancers,” he said. “The only payment they receive is from customers or clients. This is a common industry practice and it’s a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
The suit maintains that the women are treated as independent contractors, rather than full-time employees, so that the clubs don’t have to pay to minimum wage and overtime. In reality, said Kennedy, they should be considered full-time employees and paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, plus overtime.
“In addition, the club has to return the tips it took from the dancers for the last three years” if they prevail in their suit. said Kennedy, who is also investigating claims from other dancers.
Attempts to reach the club owners for comment were unsuccessful.