Yes – a federal court recently held that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to strippers who are required to dance to music streamed over the internet.
In Foster v. Gold & Silver Private Club, Inc., a group of exotic dancers sued the Club where they danced and alleged failure to pay the minimum wage under the FLSA. Civ. No. 7:14CV00698 (W.D. Va. Dec. 8, 2015). When they danced, the Club required the dancers to dance to music streamed over the Internet on Rhapsody.com. The Club challenged whether the FLSA applied to the dancers.
There are two types of coverage under the FLSA: (i) individual coverage; and (ii) enterprise coverage. “Individual coverage” applies when the individual performing the work establishes that he or she engages in interstate commerce or in the production of goods for interstate commerce. See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). “Enterprise coverage” applies when the employer has employees engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, and is an enterprise whose annual gross volume of sales made or business done is not less than $500,000. See 29 U.S.C. § 203(s)(1)(A).
In Foster, the court held that the dancers at issue were subject to individual coverage under the FLSA because they danced to music that was streamed over the Internet. The court reasoned that the Internet is an instrumentality of interstate commerce, and that because the dancers were required to regularly use the Internet to stream music, they were engaged in interstate commerce and subject to the FLSA.
Takeaway: An employee’s regular use of the Internet, whether for exotic dancing or otherwise, may be sufficient to result in individual coverage under the FLSA.