Woman sues popular south Charlotte strip club, says dancers getting shorted

Woman sues popular south Charlotte strip club, says dancers getting shorted
(Image: File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Joe Marusak//The Charlotte Observer) - A woman is suing a popular south Charlotte strip club, saying dancers are being shorted their pay.

Samantha Hannah claims Club Onyx on Old Pineville Road is violating state and federal labor laws by failing to pay salaries and overtime to her and other dancers, according to her lawsuit filed July 15 in U.S. District Court in Charlotte.

“Without legal excuse or justification,” Club Onyx also takes and keeps the tips customers give her and other dancers, Hannah said in the lawsuit.

Club Onyx gets away with that practice by classifying its dancers as independent contractors rather than employees, according to the lawsuit and similar ones filed by dancers nationwide in recent years.

Club Onyx management has not responded to phone and email messages left Friday by The Charlotte Observer. Neither has the Gastonia lawyer listed on the club’s annual report filed with the N.C. Secretary of State’s office. Lawyers for the club have yet to file the required written response in court to each of the lawsuit’s claims.

Hannah worked at the club from September 2016 until February 2019, according to her lawsuit.

She said in the lawsuit that Club Onyx treats its dancers as employees, through such practices as setting their work shifts and then keeping track of their hours.

Those and her other claims mirror the ones in lawsuits filed by exotic dancers in many other states.

In February 2018, five dancers at Cameo, an adult entertainment club near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in Charlotte, The Observer reported at the time.

“These are employees, no different from waiters or waitresses,” Maryland labor attorney Gregg Greenberg told the Baltimore Sun in 2018.

Hannah wants a jury to order Club Onyx to pay her and other dancers back wages and any monetary damages allowed by state and federal law.

Club Onyx also made Hannah and its other exotic dancers pay a “house fee or kickback” of at least $50 per shift, she said in the lawsuit. She wants the jury to order Club Onyx to give that money back to the dancers, too.

Dancers have reaped large monetary awards filing similar lawsuits elsewhere in the country, the Observer previously reported.

In 2016, a club owner in Key West, Florida, paid $1.2 million to settle a wage complaint by his dancers. In New York City, a Manhattan club owner paid $10 million to end a 2015 lawsuit over dancer pay.

A similar 2014 lawsuit in Dallas ended with a $2.3 million settlement for the dancers, the Observer reported.