Today marks my return from a well deserved summer vacation, which included a screening of Jurassic World - in 3-D, no less1. One movie that to date has yet to make the family summer movie cut, however, is Magic Mike XXL, sequel to the 2012 critically acclaimed film chronicling the exploits of a group of male exotic dancers.
The (tenuous) connection to employment law? A recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia holding that for purposes of their minimum wage claim, male strippers were employees, rather than independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In so ruling, the Court rejected the argument made by the night club where the dancers worked, that they were exempt from the FLSA as “creative professionals.” (To qualify as a “creative professional,” an employee must be (i) compensated on a salary basis or fee basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week; and (ii) his or her primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. 29 C.F.R. § 541.300.) In part, the Court relied upon deposition testimony from the club’s General Manager, who stated that most of the dancers did not know how to actually dance and that knowing how to dance was not necessary to perform the job.
The lawsuit continues on the issue of the dancers’ “employee” status. Parenthetically, although your rhythmically-challenged author will not question the ruling of a federal judge, one wonders if the Court would have come to a different conclusion if it had watched actual video of the dancers unearthed by this blog’s investigative staff.