A federal judge is making it rain at a Philadelphia strip club – forcing the establishment to pay $4.6 million in lost wages to its dancers.
The judge ruled that strippers for the Penthouse Club in the city’s Port Richmond section were owed $4,594,722 in damages after a class-action suit brought by Priya Verma, who accused managers of improperly classifying her and her colleagues as independent contractors rather than employees,Philly.com reports.
The jiggle joint tried unsuccessfully to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming it only rented stage time to the dancers rather than paying them directly. In 2014, a judge disagreed, ruling that the club did in fact serve as an employer because managers could fire strippers at any time.
At least 353 women danced at the club from 2009 through 2012, the span covered by the lawsuit, according to court records. Verna said she and other dancers had to work a minimum of four shifts per week and had to dole out house fees totaling up to $75 regardless of other earnings.
A jury ruled on Thursday after a three-day trial that the club — which licenses the “Penthouse” name — failed to pay dancers a required minimum wage of $7.50. Strippers also had to pay “tip outs” to other employees at the club, including $25 to managers, $15 to DJs and $6 to valets even if they didn’t drive to the club.