PROVIDENCE – A federal judge this week granted preliminary approval to settlements reached between exotic dancers and two clubs in Providence.
U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith initially signed agreements on Thursday to settle fair labor claims filed by dancers from the Foxy Lady and the former Wild Zebra Gentlemen’s Club on Allens Avenue.
The Foxy Lady agreed to pay $ 1.5 million to resolve the class action lawsuit brought by the dancers in May 2015 against the owners, Gulliver’s Tavern Inc. and Solid Gold Properties.
Under the terms, $ 25,000 will go to each of the principal complainants, Ruby Levi and Emily Chicoine. Up to one-third or $ 500,000 will be spent on legal fees and litigation costs.
The dancers had argued that the Chalkstone Avenue club misclassified them and other artists who provided exotic dance services from May 2012 as independent contractors. They also alleged that their employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law because they did not receive all the wages they were owed and were illegally forced to “tip” the company. mother of the house, to the DJ and to others as a condition of their employment.
Smith ruled Thursday that the terms of the settlement were “fair, reasonable and adequate.” A final fairness hearing will take place on January 18.
Likewise, Justice Smith gave his initial approval to a deal made with the dancers of the former Wild Zebra Gentlemen’s Club. The dancers agreed to deal with allegations the club failed to pay them fair wages and forced them to reimburse their tips for $ 415,000.
More than 20 dancers had alleged the club violated federal fair labor laws by treating them as independent contractors, depriving them of minimum wage and overtime benefits. The women, who typically worked four to six hours, had to pay a $ 100 house fee, money which the dancers said amounted to “stolen tips” they received from customers for private dances and entertainment.
The women, who worked at the club at 245 Allens Ave. from 2016 until the filing of the complaint in 2019, would receive amounts ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 27,000 depending on the terms.
Lawyers would receive $ 186,000, plus $ 11,900 in costs. The lawsuit named the club and its owner, Christopher Vianello, as defendants.