Judge will let cabaret dancers sue class action lawsuit for lack of pay | New
PEABODY – A group of former Peabody’s Cabaret Lounge performers may bring a class action lawsuit against the club’s owner, a judge has said.
In a ruling this week, Salem Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Karp concluded that the three women, who originally filed a lawsuit in 2018, may represent a group they believe could include as many as 300. dancers who have performed there since 2015.
Former dancers, Summer Beaulieu, Nayelis Baldino and Lauren Turcotte, and their lawyer, David Dishman, argued that instead of paying them a salary for their work, club owner Feng Zhi Lang charged women 20 $ per shift. The dancers allege that the club asked many of them to “tip” other staff members from their own tips.
Karp concluded that even though the number of dancers was well below the 300 estimated by the plaintiffs, there are still enough potential plaintiffs to justify treating the case as a class action suit.
He also shared the view of the dancers that some of those who might be entitled to compensation might not have the resources to sue for a relatively small amount of money or might not want to be a named plaintiff. in a lawsuit.
“Denying the class certification would allow these dancers not to be compensated and the accused to benefit from what could turn out to be a godsend,” Karp wrote.
The judge concluded that the main claim of the lawsuit – mistakenly classifying the dancers as independent contractors, whether or not they signed a so-called non-employment agreement – was common to all of the group’s potential claimants.
A club lawyer had objected to class action statute, saying similar lawsuits, including an earlier lawsuit that resulted in a settlement with the club, were becoming “a cottage industry” for the dancers and their lawyers.
The club said in its opposition to the class action lawsuit that after this earlier settlement it began offering dancers the option of becoming employees or signing a document stating that they did not wish to be considered employees. .
Court reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis