Exotic dancers suing former employer for back wages

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jan 23, 2012

MARTINSBURG - An exotic dancer is suing her former employer in federal court for failing to pay her at least minimum wage and for taking a portion of her tips.

Tammy M. Blake filed a nine-page complaint on her behalf and others in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Martinsburg Jan. 9.

The named defendants are Taboo Gentlemen's Club LLC, a night club in Berkeley County, and Casey McGee, who managed the club.

Blake worked at Taboo as an exotic dancer from March 2010 to January 2011. She performed under the stage name "Brooke."

According to the complaint, the defendants did not pay Blake and the other dancers for the "work duties" they performed.

In particular, Blake alleges that the club failed to pay her and the other dancers at an hourly rate at least equal to the minimum wage as set by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In addition, she alleges the club required payments from each dancer's tips -- $5 for each day shift worked, $10 for each night shift worked, $10 for a "private dance," $40 for each twenty-minute "champagne room" dance and $65 for each one half hour "champagne room" dance.

Also, Blake alleges the club charged the dancers a penalty if they arrived late for work or did not report for work and did not call ahead of time.

Blake is suing to recover damages under the FLSA and West Virginia's Wage Payment and Collection Act.

"Defendants did not have from plaintiff or any other dancer similarly situated the written authorization for wage assignments required by the WPCA," the complaint states.

"As a result of the assignments of wages made by defendants, defendants failed to pay plaintiff and other dancers similarly situated all wages due to them as required by the WPCA."

Blake is asking the federal court to enter an order awarding her and the other class members unpaid minimum wages and statutory liquidated damages under federal law, and unpaid wages plus statutory damages under West Virginia law.

Martinsburg attorney Garry G. Geffert and Gregg C. Greenberg of The Zipin Law Firm LLC in Silver Spring, Md., are representing Blake and the other dancers.

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