Talayna Clements said she worked hard for her money as a stripper at the Mile High Club in Clinton.
But at the end of each shift, managers would deduct a chunk of her tips, and she was routinely stiffed for the hours she worked, Clements alleged in a lawsuit filed in Prince George’s Circuit Court.
Clements, 28, whose stage name was “Casey,” worked at the club from April 2010 through August 2011, according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Jimmy A. Bell. In an interview, Clements said she quit because of the alleged mistreatment.
Clements said the club routinely underpaid her for the number of hours she worked. For example, during one two-week period, Clements said she worked at least 70 hours, yet she only netted $54 on her paycheck. The paycheck said she only worked 17 hours, Clements said.
The club’s owner, identified in the lawsuit as Pedro Juan Ponce, also insisted on taking a chunk of the tips she and other dancers earned, Clements said.
For example, if she worked on a Saturday night — which was typically the busiest night of the week — Ponce would take $55 of her tip take for the night, regardless of what the total was, Clements said. According to the lawsuit, Clements was also required to give the owner $10 for every lap dance she performed. Clements said customers paid $30 per lap dance.
“I feel I was treated unfairly,” Clement said. “I feel I was basically exploited by the owner.”
According to the lawsuit, Clements gave clients an average of 20 lap dances a week. At a rate of $10 deducted per dance over a span of 16 months, the club owes Clements $12,800 in illegally deducted lap dance fees, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit alleges the club is liable for triple damages in that amount, plus attorney’s fees, punitive damages, and interest.
Early this year, a similar lawsuit was filed against the Mile High Club by a dancer named Sabrina Tullos. Bell, who also represented Tullos, said she decided to drop the lawsuit shortly after it was filed.
Ponce did not return a phone message left for him at the club.
Bell said it is illegal for business owners to take tips from hourly workers.
The lawsuit also alleges the club “does not provide a shower or a wash area” for dancers.
The lawsuit alleges the club is violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and Maryland state law regarding wages.