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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Dancer Rights on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Featured in the Houston Chronicle: Dancer Rights Team Fights For Justice for Dancers

Most of us have bills to pay. Most of us earn incomes to pay those bills. Most of us work hard to earn our incomes. Most of us go to work, do our best, spend our time and energy and resources to do so, and rely on our paychecks to help us support our lifestyles and enjoy our free time when we have it.

Most of us would never imagine our employers refusing to pay us what we earn – or skimming money off our wages.

This, however, is exactly what a dancer alleges happened between her and her employer, the Heartbreakers Gentleman’s Club. The dancer has filed a lawsuit against the Dickinson club on behalf of herself and fellow dancers who say they were not paid minimum wage, nor covered for overtime expenses that are mandated by federal law. In addition to not paying her the wages she earned, she also alleges they skimmed money off her personal tips.

We at Kristensen LLP are proud to partner with Jarrett L. Ellzey, a labor and employment lawyer who is representing dancers to combat this predatory scheme – a scheme that is unfortunately not an isolated incident. Ellzey, who specializes in cases of this variety, maintains that this is just one of many cases of exploitive employers who unethically and illegally target hard-working individuals due to the nature of their profession, and use a number of tactics to take advantage of them. A few of the most common methods used by crooked clubs includes forcing dancers to pay to work there, fraudulently classifying them as independent contractors rather than full-time employees, and neglecting to pay them the minimum wage as mandated by law.

No matter what gender or race, socioeconomic class, profession, or any other means by which one can be preyed upon or discriminated against – our firm represents those who have been wronged and suffered as a result. Anyone who works hard for their income deserves that income – there is no gray area, no questions, no loopholes, no exceptions.

It is our intention, combined with the expertise and efforts of Jarrett L. Ellzey, to help these dancers receive the wages that are rightfully theirs, and seek justice against those who sought to unscrupulously take advantage of them for their own personal financial gain.

Ellzey puts it bluntly.

“You have these club owners who are 99 percent men taking advantage of vulnerable young females who desperately need to work and are unaware of their rights under federal law,” Ellzey said.

While it is fortunate that schemes like this are not suffered by the majority of workers, nor even the majority of dancers, the reality is this type of financial subjugation is, indeed, the reality for some. We at Kristensen LLP are committed to persecuting those responsible, and compensating those who suffer as a result. If you or a loved one believes they have been unfairly preyed upon by an employer, we encourage you to reach out to our office to find justice.