Colorado lawyers have filed a lawsuit against a company that runs strip clubs across Denver, claiming it exploits workers.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Denver, includes named plaintiff Georgina Santich and more than 500 unnamed women who all worked as strippers at the company's clubs. The lawsuit was filed against VCG Holding Corp., which operates the five night clubs named in the lawsuit. A representative for the company declined to comment.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants failed to pay workers a minimum or overtime wage, denied full wages and tips and required them to pay fees in order to be allowed to strip. The suit seeks reimbursement for unpaid overtime pay, back wages and shared tips.
"Defendants’ business model is predicated entirely on the exploitation of (Santich) and other class members in order for the companies and their owners to earn a profit," the lawsuit said.
Among the fees the women were required to pay were a "House Fee" between $30 and $60, depending on when their shifts began — this number could double during special events. Portions of any earned tips had to go to DJs and security guards after every shift, the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, other fees the women were required to pay their employers included: $5 for each personal dance provided to a customer, between $30 and $150 for dances in "VIP Rooms," and $50 in fines for failing to dance on stage during a shift.
Workers were forced to wear a particular type of outfit and meet makeup and weight requirements, or face being fired. Santich was fired in February for not complying with "physical appearance requirements," the lawsuit said.