Exotic dancers sue strip club for worker exploitation

Categories: News

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Four exotic dancers are suing a Grand Junction strip club, claiming the venue and its owner, Kevin Eardley, are breaking labor laws via a payment structure that includes exorbitant fines for a whole range of actions -- such as ponying up $50 plus increased stage fees if a customer touches a dancer's vagina.

Eardley calls the suit bogus and maintains that he's following standard practices. But the attorney representing the women says the club takes the sort of mistreatment that's rife in the industry to another level.

Attorney Mari Newman acknowledges that "exploitation of dancers is not unique" to Fantasy Gentlemen's Club, which launched three years ago and is currently the only operation of its type in Grand Junction, "but they have a few particularly bad practices that make them stand out."

Hence, the lawsuit, on view below in its entirety, which was filed in U.S. District Court under the names of four women who've worked at Fantasy: Allison Stebbing, Jamie Tencza, Michelle Cross and Jessica Mason.

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Fantasy Gentlemen's Club.
The women weren't classified as employees of Fantasy. Rather, they were listed -- improperly, in Newman's view -- as independent contractors. Eardley explained the process to Grand Junction's KREX-TV like so: "Well, you sign a lease contract saying you're a tenant -- so you're leasing space from the club to work. You come in and pay your house fee -- that varies on what night you come in -- and then you get to keep your tips on anything above that."

Newman's response? "They say the relationship between the dancers and the club is like a hairdresser who leases space to work in a salon. But that's not what the relationship is, because of the degree of control the club asserts over them. If they were truly independent contractors, they could come and go as they please; they wouldn't be charged for switching their shifts -- and they certainly wouldn't be be required to pay the other employees."

As Newman explains, "dancers have to pay fees to work, and those fees come in two forms: a stage fee, which is up to $80 for each shift, and then fees to dance in the private rooms. And they don't receive a salary. They are paid exclusively by patron tips, but they're not allowed to keep all of those tips. Instead, the club forces them to share a portion of the tips to the DJs and bouncers. So effectively, the club is using the dancer's tips to pay part of other workers' salaries."

Here's a photo from the suit showing posted house rates....

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...and another image noting a required 7 percent cut for DJs and security, respectively. The note also includes behavioral do's and don'ts such as "NO CONTACT WITH PATRONS AT ANYTIME!!!," "NO touching your breasts, nipples, butt, or vagina," "NO simulating masturbation," "NO licking your nipples. NO touching or crotch diving of any patrons at any time," and more:

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Another photo shows the rates for the private "champagne" rooms, and the club's piece of the action:

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And then there are the fines, which strike Newman as unreasonable in the extreme.

Continue for more about the exotic dancers' claims against Fantasy Gentlemen's Club, including more photos, a video and the complete lawsuit.


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27 comments
TreatherLikeALady
TreatherLikeALady

Sounds like they are being exploited. Good on them for having the power and dignity to fight for their worker rights. Doesn't matter what the work is, they shouldn't be mistreated or have to pay for the bouncer and the DJ. They don't get 401K or Health Benifits yet they are treated like employees. I hope they get something out of this and set a standard for all female workers. 


SeizeTheDay
SeizeTheDay

"You know this...I'm a stripper silly.  Well, technically an escort, but stripping's a great way to meet the client."

sweetandsassy
sweetandsassy

These girls signed up as independent contractors when they started. They agreed to pay the fees to work there.  One of these girls actually tried to work there on Monday, if it was so terrible why are they trying to come back ?  Oh and the only reason another one of them doesn't work there is because she got pregnant.  The rules about touching the customers and so forth are actually the same things that if the liquor board walked in on the club would be fined for so those rules are actually from the state of Colorado not made up in the owner's head.  Give me a break no one was exploited they are looking for a payday

Derek Dwreck Wynn
Derek Dwreck Wynn

I thought most clubs made the girls pay to dance... and were "tips" only.

jester43
jester43

the club has posted rules, if the girls don't like the rules they can find another place to work..

I'm sure they would make just as much at McDonald's ..... NOT !

Mike Hymbaugh
Mike Hymbaugh

Of course the club should have to pay them if they were told they would get paid when they were hired.

Trent Long
Trent Long

Bwa-ha-ha!! The strippers should form a union against their pimp. ..I mean manager. ^^ Seriously though. Isn't part of these girls skill-set supposed to be manipulating people into giving them money? If the guy is a complete waste of space, maybe they should jump ship and go to another club. But yeah, the club should definitely fork out what the girls are due. It takes a lot of courage and skill to get up there and dance in front of people, and put up with the general public looking down on you. Stealing their money is like a slap in the face. The girls definitely deserve what they are owed.

Mark Collier
Mark Collier

The reasl story here is, "They have a strip club in Grand Junction?!?!"

Ashley Ramirez
Ashley Ramirez

Yes they should who cares what kind of job it is they earned the money an they should be paid

KeepHerOffThePole
KeepHerOffThePole

Wow. I have never been to a strip club and NOT had a dancer rub her tits and vagina all up on me....Seems like this clown is asking the girls to do their jobs and then penalizing them for it...What an a**hole......

kienzlemike596
kienzlemike596

@sweetandsassy If they are independent contractors, why are there rules? Why do they have shifts? They may have signed up for the job, who is to say the club didn't change the rules on them? I've worked at strip clubs, and the ones that require the girls to be on a set schedule and follow rules paid them hourly. I can see the no touching rules, but it sounded like they would get fined if a customer touched them whether the girls were willing or not.

And might I add, if the girls were looking for a payday, wouldn't they stay working at a strip club? I don't think it's about money...

sweetandsassy
sweetandsassy

@Mike Hymbaugh They were never told they'd be paid they signed a contract as independent contractors when they began working there if it was so awful for them why is one of them still trying to work there as of last Monday .

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