Santa Clara, CA: A $6.M million settlement has been reached in an employment class action lawsuit filed by dancers at the gentleman’s club chain Deja Vu Consulting Inc. In the more than one dozen complaints, the dancers alleged they were misclassified as independent contractors. The settlement covers between 45,000 and 50,000 dancers at 64 clubs nationwide.
According to the terms of the settlement, the funds will be divided into two pools. The first pool, consisting of $2 million, includes $30,000 in rewards for two proposed class representatives, up to $50,000 in settlement notice and administration costs, and about $935,000 for dancers who opt for cash payments.
The second pool, consisting of $4.5 million, will be divided into credits toward dancers' rent for stage time or other fees dancers pay the club for the right to perform, depending on the structure of an individual club’s operation. The credit amounts will range from $200 for workers who performed at a club for at least one month to a maximum of $2000 for dancers who performed for 18 months or longer.
Further, in the hopes of resolving misclassification claims going forward, the settlement also includes injunctive relief in the form of a new process for evaluating employment status. This process involves an evaluation period, after which dancers at the clubs covered in the settlement, will meet with management and answer an economic realities test-based questionnaire designed to determine whether or not a dancer is better classified as an employee or an independent contractor. Those classified as employees will be paid a minimum wage and take home their tips, less the legal costs of their employment and other fees. By contrast, independent contractors will have more freedom to set their hours and pick their costumes.
If the settlement receives final approval, it will cover all former and current dancers who worked at 64 Deja Vu-affiliated clubs across the country, over three class periods that vary depending on the clubs’ geographic location and whether the class members are involved in other suits against Deja Vu.
A fairness hearing is scheduled for June 6, 2017. The case is Jane Doe et al v. Deja Vu et al., case number 2:16-cv-10877, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.