Stripper Sues Baltimore Strip Cub for Retaliation, Wrongful Discharge and for Wages
(BALTIMORE - September 25, 2013) - Today, September 25, 2013, in the United States District Court of Maryland, Baltimore Division, Raqiya Whyte a/k/a exotic dancer “Queen” filed a lawsuit against sued PP&G, INC. d.b.a. NORMA JEAN’S NITE CLUB (a strip club) and it’s owner Lisa Ireland, For Retaliation and to recover damages under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. (“FLSA”) and to recover damages under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”), Maryland Code, Labor and Employment Article §§ 3-501 et seq. and wrongful discharge.
NORMA JEAN’S is located at 10 Custom House Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202. The case number is 13-cv-02806.
According to the lawsuit:
6. Plaintiff was employed by Defendants from September 2010 through September 9, 2013 as an exotic dancer. At all times, Plaintiff’s primary job duty was as an exotic dancer at Defendants’ Strip Club in Baltimore, Maryland. Defendants’ Strip Club features nude exotic dancers. Plaintiff performs a duty that is central and integral to Defendants’ business. Plaintiff possessed no specialized skill in dancing and the Defendants did not require any level of education or previous certification (such as, by way of example, completion of a pole dance class) before hiring Plaintiff or other dancers.
7. During her term of employment, from September 2010 until September 2013, Plaintiff regularly worked 4 shifts per week for a total of 40 hours per week. From September 2010 through September 2013 Plaintiff was required to pay out $45 of her tips to the Defendants and an additional $20 if she was late for her shift. Plaintiff was required to entertain customers “according to means and methods prescribed by” management. The managers kept records of the lap-dances that Plaintiff preformed each day and night shift. Plaintiff was required to appear on stage to dance at fixed times, comply with a dress code and wear costumes in compliance with management requirements. While in Defendants’ employ, Defendants failed and refused to pay Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals any wages for work duties performed.
8. Defendant’s required to pay the DJ (Disc Jockey) for the right to work at the club, $10-$15 per night in DJ fees out of her tips.
9. The Defendants hired and fired dancers, determined what hours they worked, and hired its dancers based solely on whether they ‘look good’ rather than individual performance experience or talent. Many of dancers who have been hired by the Defendants have never danced at a club before, so they had zero experience in exotic dancing but were still hired based on looks alone and not any skill level. Defendants did not even require the newly hired dances to have a certificate of completion from a pole dance class.
10. Management at the club determines which dancers are going to work on any given shift; how many shifts they’ll have in a day; how long each of the shifts are; what the dancers can/cannot dance to.
11. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were required to follow all of the clubs rules and regulations and failure to follow the rules will result in suspension or termination.
12. The only money Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals made at the club is from tips that they received from customers. They are then required to use her tips to pay the club their mandatory fees.
13. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals are required to pay DJ fees and clean up fees each day.
14. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals are required to pay the Club Lap dance fees.
15. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals paid the club the following lap dance fees out of her tips from customers.
16. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were not paid wages and under the minimum wage laws for tipped employees that she is and all other similarly situated individuals are owed unpaid wages.
17. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals did not share in the profits of the Club.
18. During her employment at the Defendants’ Strip Club, Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were completely dependent on the "tip" income that she received from the customers at the club.
19. The management of the Club scheduled the times and days Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were to work and Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were fined if she failed to work according to the schedule established by Club management.
20. The Defendants established the rates for the services that Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals provided to customers of the Club. Plaintiff had no voice in any of the pricing for the services she provided.
21. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were treated as an employee of the Club and she was required to attend mandatory meetings or she would be terminated.
22. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals did have to provide their own costumes for dancing, however Club management dictated the type of costumes they could wear.
23. Plaintiff’s and all other similarly situated individuals job was to entertain the customers of the Club. It was the Club's responsibility to bring in the customers. Management established all rules and policies from the hours the business would be open down to the songs they could dance to.
24. Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals had no involvement in or responsibility for the operation of the business.
25. At all times, Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals were employees of Defendants and was never an independent contractors.
26. Notwithstanding that Defendants paid Plaintiff and all other similarly situated individuals nothing for her hours worked each week; Defendants took deductions and withheld money from Plaintiff’s and all other similarly situated individuals tips. Additionally, Defendants charged and all other similarly situated individuals with late fees and fines for calling in sick or arriving late to work.
27. Plaintiff had taken a pre-planned vacation for the latter part of the summer and returned on September 9, 2013.
28. Ms. Whyte had worked the day shift at Norma Jeans Nite Club on September 9, 2013. Upon her returning to the Norma Jeans to work the night shift, she was stopped by Walter Robinson, the manager of the club. Mr. Robinson asked her if she had a conversation with anyone about this club. She told Mr. Robinson that she told people about the tip outs that the club was charging dancers. Mr. Robinson then told her they told him that she was fired and banned from the club because she was listed as a witness in a lawsuit that was filed against the club. Ms. Whyte asked Mr. Robinson who is they and he stated Pete Ireland and Lisa Ireland. Lisa is the owner of the club and Pete is her husband.
29.Plaintiff was named as a witness for another Plaintiff in Unique Butler v. PP &G, Inc. (WMN-13-430) which is the same Defendant.
30. Plaintiff participated in a protected activity were she gave testimony of Defendant’s illegal practices Defendant had been involved in regarding FLSA.
31. Defendant received information that Ms. Whyte as a witness in another FLSA case Unique Butler v. PP &G, Inc. (WMN-13-430) and she was going to proffer about Defendant’s illegal activities of taking money from Plaintiff.
32. Plaintiff listed her as a witness and disclosed her proffered testimony to Defendant on August 8, 2013.
33. Her proffered testimony was that Defendant was taking dancer’s fees and engaged in activities that would be a violation of the FLSA.
34. She was a witness that was listed to testify at trial in the Unique Butler v. PP &G, Inc. (WMN-13-430)case. Defendant PP&G was placed on noticed that they were in violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act and the Maryland equivalent in February 2013 when they were sued in Unique Butler v. PP &G, Inc. (WMN-13-430). After willfully and intentionally continuing with the illegal practices after they had knowledge, Defendants have subjected themselves to punitive damages.
35. A United States District Court Judge for the District of Maryland, Judge Roger W. Titus in Latoya Francis v. Ronald Hunt, et. al. RWT 04-cv-637 on February 2, 2005, has already ruled as a matter of law that an exotic dancer is an employee as that term is used in the Fair Labor Standards Act and relevant Maryland and District of Columbia statutes. This case is no different.
The Plaintiff is represented by prominent attorney J.Wiggs Esq. located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
 Plaintiff’s damages extends back only 3 years from the September 24, 2013 filing date