PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An exotic dancer is suing a Providence strip club and its ownership for allegedly not paying dancers and forcing them to pay rent.
According to court documents obtained by Eyewitness News, the lead plaintiff named in the lawsuit, Shannon Gavel, claims she and other dancers were not paid the minimum wage, or properly compensated at all, for hours worked at Club Desire on Franklin Square.
Atwells Realty Corp. and The One Inc., who both do business as Club Desire, along with the club’s owners, Gerard DiSanto II and Madeline DiSanto, were named in the lawsuit.
Gavel alleges she and other exotic dancers were only paid in tips from customers, with Club Desire misclassifying them as “independent contractors” to get away with not paying the workers an hourly wage.
On top of that, the dancers claim they had to pay so-called “house fees” or “rent” to the club and were forced to divide tips with managers and other employees who don’t typically receive tips.
Attorneys for the dancers are asking the court to demand Club Desire’s owners pay Gavel, and other women similarly situated, for any lost wages.
Eyewitness News reached out to Club Desire Wednesday night for comment but had not heard back.