A lawsuit filed on December 24, 2014 against Three Amigos SJL Inc., Three Amigos Rest., Inc., Times Square Restaurant No. 1, Inc., Times Square Restaurant Group, LTD., Selim Zherka, and Dominica O’Neill (collectively, “Defendants”), who own and/or operate “Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club & Restaurant” (“Cheetahs”) located at 252 West 43rd Street, New York, New York 10036. The lawsuit alleges the Cheetahs failed to pay the proper minimum wage, overtime pay, and spread-of-hours pay to exotic dancers as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law “NYLL”). Additionally, the lawsuit seeks to recover damages for misappropriated gratuities, uniform-related expenses, unlawful deductions, and other statutory penalties under the NYLL. Affected employees include any exotic dancer who has worked for Cheetahs within the last six years.
Plaintiffs allege that Cheetahs did not pay them an hourly salary, even though they were entitled to the full minimum wage rate (currently $8.00 per hour in NY). Plaintiffs further allege that they did not receive an overtime premium for any hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek. Plaintiffs claim that they consistently worked in excess of 10 hours per day without ever being compensated one additional hours pay at the full minimum wage rate. Plaintiffs also claim that Cheetahs made unlawful deductions from their wages in the form of “House Charges” for each shift that they worked. Plaintiffs state that Cheetahs charged them with additional “House Charges” anytime they were late for a shift or had to reschedule a shift. Plaintiffs also claim that Defendants misappropriated their tips by distributing them to workers who did not provide any sort of customer service, such as “House Moms” and DJs. Additionally, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants encouraged customers to tip using “club scrip”. “Club scrip” can only be purchased directly from Cheetahs, and Cheetahs retains a portion of every tip paid through “club scrip”. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants never told customers that Defendants retained a portion of each tip paid through “club scrip”, thereby defrauding customers who believed that they were tipping Plaintiffs a larger amount than they actually had. Plaintiffs also allege that they were required to purchase and maintain uniforms, often directly from Defendants, without receiving any form of reimbursement. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants failed to keep accurate time and pay records of wages and tips. They further claim that Defendants failed to provide Plaintiffs with proper annual wage notices and statements.
Anyone who has worked at a gentlemen’s club as an exotic dancer in the past six years may have a wage claim. Please contact the employment lawyers at Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, (212) 300-0375, to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your rights under the FLSA and NYLL.
Current and former exotic dancers employed by Cheetahs should who have questions about the lawsuit, should contact Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP (212) 300-0375, to see if you are eligible to join the lawsuit. You can also view the complaint here.