Strip clubs learn bare facts of fair labor practices

By The West Virginia Record | Oct 11, 2013

If you were a stripper – “exotic dancer,” s’il vous plait – and you were looking for legal representation, how would you choose a law firm?

You could ask your colleagues for a recommendation. One of the girls is bound to have been bound over and surely had a date with justice, if not justices.

You could survey your lap-dance customers until you found an attorney, probably a relatively short search.

You could go online, googling phrases like “stripper lawyer” and “exotic dance counsel.”

Or you could scroll through a list of law firms until you found one that stood out. It might be hard at first, but you’d be glad you did it in the end.

You’d know you had the right one when you came upon the Zipin Firm. Yes, the Zipin Firm. There’s something about the name. It’s like a sign. This is the firm a stripper wants.

Sometimes, a hunch pays off.

The Zipin Firm in Maryland is giving the exotic dancers of West Virginia just what they want: compensatory damages from strip club owners for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The firm began filing complaints in federal court in Martinsburg against various West Virginia strip joints two years ago, reaching settlements with Divas, Underground Casino and Lounge and Taboo Gentlemen’s Club. This past March, the firm filed another class action in Berkeley County Circuit Court against Paradise City II in Bunker Hill.

The Zipin Firm’s class action against the Legz Clubs has just been settled for $347,000, with $194,500 trickling out to class members and $138,000 going directly to the firm.

The strippers were not paid wages but collected tips instead, a portion of which went to the club owners. The owners were found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying their dancers at least minimum wage: the bare minimum.

The bosses got caught with their pants down.

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