Court Rules Exotic Dancers at Swinging Richards are Entitled to an Hourly Minimum Wage and to Retain Tips Received from Customers

On June 19, 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that exotic dancers at Swinging Richards in Atlanta, Georgia, are entitled to be paid the federal minimum wage and that the club could not offset its minimum wage obligation with tips paid by customers.  In granting the Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on these issues, Judge Thomas W. Thrash held that “the Plaintiffs are correct when they state that creativity is not a requirement, and that the job may be performed by anybody with general ability and training” and the money “received by the dancers for entertainment provided on the main stage, the main floor, the VIP lounge, and the VIP rooms were obviously “tips,” and so they may not be used to offset the [club’s] minimum wage obligations under the FLSA.”

“The Court’s Order confirmed that tipped workers are entitled to an hourly minimum wage in addition to their tips,” said Plaintiffs’ Counsel Tim C. Selander.  “The Court’s ruling is consistent with the Department of Labor regulations and decisions from other courts around the country.”

Plaintiffs are represented by Paul J. Lukas, Tim C. Selander, and Anna P. Prakash from Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and John Mays and Meredith Carter of Mays & Kerr LLC.