UNANIMOUS DECISION BY NEVADA SUPREME COURT RULES DANCERS AS CLUB EMPLOYEES
Bighorn Law Wins Ruling In Class-Action Suit On Behalf of 6500 Nevada Dancers
Clark County District Court to Rule on Amount of Judgement
October 30, 2014…Las Vegas, NV… Today, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision by the district court and ruled that dancers qualify as employees and are thus owed wages by the clubs in which they work.
According to the lawsuit filed by Mick Rusing and Ryan Anderson, exotic dancers should be considered employees, and therefore should be paid wages rather than relying solely on tips. The suit was originally filed in 2009 by Rusing, and district courts initially ruled against the entertainers. However, on appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the lawsuit, ruling that dancers are more in line with “wage earners toiling for a living than independent entrepreneurs.” From the decision itself, the court said: “Sapphire qualifies as an employer under NRS 608.011, and the performers therefore qualify as employees under NRS 608.010. In so holding, this court is in accord with the great weight of authority, which has almost “without exception … found an employment relationship and required … nightclub[s] to pay [their] dancers a minimum wage.””
“Today’s ruling sets firm precedent that dancers are not independent contractors but employees,” said Mick Rusing, lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs.
“This is a huge victory for workers in Nevada,” Attorney Ryan Anderson adds. “These clubs treated their dancers like employees. While these businesses claim they have no formal contract, they do, in fact, outline clearly what the entertainers can and can not do, what they can and can not wear, house fees, and minimum performance requirements. The employee / employer relationship is obvious. While the judgement was against Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club itself, the ruling obviously has implications for every strip club in the state.”
The ruling is based on the Fair Labor Stands Act which uses the economic realities test to determine how employees are paid. The court said the test criteria examines the totality of the circumstances and determines whether as a matter of economic reality if workers depend upon the business to which they render service for the opportunity to work. Similarly, the businesses depend on the employees for success. The court pointed out that Sapphires Gentlemen’s Club bills itself as “The World’s Largest Strip Club” making it self evident that the strippers form an integral part of the business. “Today’s judgement by the Nevada Supreme Court will ensure the dancers are paid a minimum wage, based on the same criteria established for all Nevada employees,” stated Ryan Anderson, partner in Bighorn Law and counsel in the class-action law suit.
Attorneys representing the entertainers are expected to ask for a judgement in the millions representing wages back wages dating to 2009.
Anderson expects other dancers to file lawsuits in the coming days..
Bighorn Law is a law firm with offices in Nevada and Utah. Its two principal attorneys are Nathan Morris and Ryan Anderson. They can be reached for comment at (702) 333-1111.
Bighorn Law Locations
2001 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89104
716 South Jones Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89107
2340 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Ste 120
Henderson, NV 89052