Wednesday, July 2, 2008, 10:07 AM

Deja Vu: Another Day, Another FLSA Lawsuit in the Service Industry

No industry appears to be immune from FLSA and similar state law wage and hour claims these days! Just this past week, exotic dancers filed suit under a fictitious name against the owners of the nightclubs in which they worked asserting FLSA and Michigan Minimum Wage Law violations. The dancers seek back wages, liquidated damages, penalties and injunctive relief from Deja Vu Consulting Inc. and Cin-Lan Inc. (collectively, "Deja Vu") for three years of alleged misclassification. Click here for the complaint filed in Jane Doe v. Cin-Lan Inc. and Deja Vu Consulting, Inc.

According to its dancers, Deja Vu missed the mark on several areas regulated by the FLSA. First of all, the dancers were classified as independent contractors; the dancers say they were really employees and therefore deprived of the minimum wage. Second, Deja Vu allegedly required dancers to split the tips they received from customers with Deja Vu. The dancers allege these practices allowed Deja Vu to reap large profits at the expense of the dancers.

Like the FLSA, Michigan's Minimum Wage Law requires employers pay minimum wages to even tipped employees (size doesn't matter when it comes to tips to employees as some minimum wage is still required to be paid). Click here for the DOL's FLSA fact sheet on Tipped Employees.

A review of the past months demonstrates how all employers across all industries need to conduct FLSA compliance reviews and ensure that they are indeed following FLSA requirements. Regardless of your company's industry, its not worth dancing around FLSA issues if you are an employer.

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