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A New York stripper has filed a wage lawsuit against Dial-A-Dancer, a company that sends erotic dancers (and porn stars) to private parties in the tri-state area. Crystal DiCesare claims she only made $200 a week despite working three 12-hour days.
She's sung the company for an unspecified amount, requesting back wages and unpaid overtime. She's also accused owner Roger Otway of skimming a portion of her nightly tips, which she says usually came in at about $500.
When asked why she's chosen to sue, Manhattan employment attorney William Rand told the New York Daily News that his client "didn't like getting screwed."
And screwed she probably was -- if she wasn't an independent contractor, that is.
An employee of Dial-A-Dancer told the Daily News that strippers are independent contractors, which would make them exempt from wage and overtime laws. This is because independent contractors have more control over their work lives -- they set their own hours, prices and decide when and how to work.
Luckily for Crystal DiCesare, the facts suggest that she was not an independent contractor. She claims that Otway chose what she wore and whether she could eat, reports the paper. That he allegedly had control over her tips also indicates that she was an employee.
Being an employee would entitle the stripper to back wages to make up for minimum wage. However, it may not entitle her to overtime pay. New York law requires overtime wages only after an employee has worked 40 hours in a single week. It appears she only worked 36 hours.
As for the tips allegedly taken by Dial-A-Dancer owner Roger Otway, those definitely belong to Crystal DiCesare. Per federal regulations, tips belong solely to the employee.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.