Strippers sue Fantasy Gentleman's Club, and its owner, for unpaid wages, fees, fines, tips

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Five strippers have filed a class action lawsuit against Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club in Grand Junction and its owner, Kevin Eardley.

An attorney for the exotic dancers said the club exploited the dancers by not paying them, and instead, making the dancers pay the club to be allowed to work.

"Because the club does not pay them, the dancers rely entirely on tips from customers, which the club then requires the dancers to share with its bouncers and disc jockeys," said attorney Mari Newman in a statement sent to 7NEWS. "To make matters worse, the club also demands that the dancers pay various fines for so-called rule violations, such as trading shifts with other dancers and even misconduct by customers."

Eardley told 7NEWS that his club operates the same as many Denver clubs.

"Leases are no different than leasing a booth at a salon," Eardley said.

A sign allegedly posted in the club showed that dancers would be charged $40-$60 to dance on a Sunday or Monday evening. Dancing on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday would cost $50-$70 depending on which 2-hour shift a dancer chose. Dancing on a Friday or Saturday evening cost $60-$80.

The sign, a photo of which was included in the lawsuit, said dancers would be fined $10 for each half-hour they were late and $50 if they did not tip the DJ and security 7 percent each.

A second sign included in the lawsuit listed the dance and house rules. Some of the rules were:

- No touching your breasts, nipples, butt or vagina

- No simulating masturbation

- No licking your nipples

- No touching other girls breasts, nipples, butt or vagina

- No touching or crotch diving of any patrons at any time

The lawsuit said the dancers were charged extra to dance in what was called the "Champagne Rooms." A dancer performing there would be required to pay 25 percent of the money earned, according to the lawsuit. More if they danced in the Nude VIP rooms.

Attorneys for the dancers said the fees, fines and tips that the dancers were required to pay were "unlawful kick backs."

The lawsuit argues the dancers were employees and were entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, retention of all tips and all other benefits required by statute. The lawsuit argues that the club classified the dancers as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage.

"This case highlights the exploitation of one of the most vulnerable groups of employees -- young women working as dancers in adult entertainment establishments. We are receiving calls from numerous employees who have been mistreated and want to join the case," said Newman. "Fantasy Gentlemen’s Club’s refusal to pay its dancers is a clear violation of the law. We hope that this class action lawsuit will send a message to adult establishments everywhere that they must treat their workers fairly."