A Peoria stripper is suing her club for not paying its dancers any wages in a lawsuit that she hopes to make a class action.
Aleigha Woods is suing Club Cabare't, a nude strip club in Creve Coeur, Ill., just south of Peoria. In the three years she worked there, she was paid only with tips, Woods claims.
According to Woods' complaint, filed last week in federal court, the club's dancers are not paid any regular wages, and a portion of their tips are regularly taken by fees imposed by management. These charges range from a nightly house fee of $55 to $65 to fees for not performing correctly or "not smiling" while on stage.
The complaint says that the club has employed more than 100 dancers in the last three years who would qualify for a class-action lawsuit. "It is likely that other individuals will… join this action as opt-in plaintiffs," the complaint reads.
The lawsuit alleges the club violated the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, which requires employers to pay tipped employees a minimum of $4.95 an hour, as well as federal Fair Labor standards. While the club calls its dancers "independent contractors" to get around labor laws, it controls what dancers wear, when they can perform, and when they have to come and go, the complaint says.
The suit, which was first reported by the Peoria Journal Star, aims to recover unpaid minimum wages, damages, and attorney fees.
Club Cabare't—whose website claims to offer "The Food, The Fun, The Fantasy!"—declined to comment Tuesday.
Two dancers at a vegan Portland strip club sued for similar unpaid wages earlier this year, and also alleged that they were inappropriately touched by customers and bouncers. That case is currently in pre-trial discovery, according to court records.
Not paying wages is "a very common practice in the industry," Paul Lukas, Woods' lawyer, told Fusion. As more lawsuits get filed, "clubs will have to pay these people like the employees they are."
Woods' full complaint can be read below:
Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.