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Judge awards exotic dancers $10.8 million

Rick's Cabaret NY as shown on Google Street

Rick's Cabaret NY as shown on Google Street View. Credit: Google

A federal judge has awarded exotic dancers at a Manhattan strip joint more than $10.8 million in a class action brought over minimum wage violations and other pay disputes at Rick's Cabaret NY.

The money would be divided among over 1,900 dancers who worked at the midtown club dating back to 2005. Manhattan U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer found the dancers were employees, not independent contractors, and got no wages, receiving only tips.

Engelmayer said the damages may grow at a trial to resolve additional claims, such as an allegation that dancers had to pay a $60 "tip out" fee to management after each shift.

RCI Hospitality Holdings, the owner of the club, said in a statement that it planned to appeal once the case is complete. It called the judge's finding in the case that none of the tips dancers received should offset wage obligations a "fundamentally flawed concept."

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