JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Danny’s Downtown Cabaret has been ordered to pay over $3.3 million in a race discrimination case.
The US District Court Clerk Arthur Johnston confirmed that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ordered the business to pay former employee, Ashley Williams, and four other dancers, who is claim they were racially discriminated against.
The lawsuit states that since June 2013 through the present, the defendants have engaged in unlawful employment practice.
According to the lawsuit, in September of 2012, Williams started working as an entertainer for the strip club. The five class members were also black female entertainers who worked for the club.
The lawsuit alleges that the entertainers were required to work under “adverse and disparate terms and conditions of employment, which the Defendants did not impose on similarly situated white entertainers" For example, Williams and the other class members were made to work exclusively at a related gentleman’s club, Black Diamonds, or pay a fee of $100 per shift before being allowed to work at Danny’s.
According to the lawsuit, at Black Diamonds patrons were allowed to grope the entertainers, use illicit drugs and smoke cigarettes, and the air conditioning was often broken.
At Club Danny’s, patrons were not allowed to grope entertainers or use drugs or smoke and the air conditioning always worked.
The lawsuit says that on July 23, 2013, the strip club terminated Williams’ employment because of her race when she refused to pay the discriminatory fee of $100 per shift to work at Club Danny’s.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a Mississippi federal court returned a verdict on Wednesday in favor of the EEOC and five black dancers who “were subjected to egregious race discrimination while employed by Danny’s of Jackson, LLC, doing business as Danny’s Downtown Cabaret".
EEOC says that the verdicts included $1.5 million in punitive damages, $1.68 million in compensatory damages, and $130,550 in back pay.
According to the EEOC, Danny’s, and its predecessor, Baby O’s Restaurant, subjected black dancers to discriminatory terms and conditions of employment for years, by limiting the number of shifts black dancers could work, and subjecting them to racially offensive epithets.
The EEOC also says that Danny’s also forced the dancers to work at a related club, Black Diamonds, even though they were subject to arrest there because they were not licensed to work at that club. If the dancers refused to work at Black Diamonds, they were fired and sent home.
The EOCC says that over the past years, there have been two EEOC charges, three prior lawsuits, and contempt proceedings, and three consent decrees. They say that even though after this, Danny’s continues to discriminate against the dancers.