A federal judge in Detroit on Monday overruled objections filed by several exotic dancers and approved a $6.5-million national settlement of a class action brought against the Déjà Vu chain of strip clubs, alleging unfair labor practices.
“The proposed settlement offers value to the class in the form of cash, rent credit or dance fee payments, and long-term structural changes to defendants’ business practices, all of which directly benefit class members,” U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy said in a 25-page opinion. Co-counsel for plaintiffs were Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers attorney Megan Bonanni and Jason Thompson and Jesse Young of Sommers Schwartz.
The case centered on whether the dancers are employees or independent contractors — a classification that affects issues such as whether the clubs must pay them a minimum hourly wage or can instead charge them for doing business inside the clubs. The suit alleged the dancers were wrongly treated as independent contractors who were charged rent to perform, instead of employees who must be paid an hourly wage and provided a free workplace and other benefits.