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A group of exotic dancers, who sued New York City’s Rick’s Cabaret for retaining a portion of gratuities and failing to pay minimum wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act  and New York Labor Law, were awarded preliminary damages of $10,866,035.

Specifically, the court awarded unpaid minimum wages in the amount of $3,324,151; improperly retained gratuities in the amount of $3,577,032; and recoupment of fines and fees that dancers were required to pay to Rick’s Cabaret in the amount of $3,964,852.  Moreover, it is likely that additional amounts will be awarded following a trial on other minimum wage claims, as well as liquidated damages reflecting 100% of the total damages awarded.  Ultimately, Rick’s Cabaret’s liability could exceed $20 million.

Rick’s Cabaret had previously argued that neither the Fair Labor Standards Act nor the New York Labor Law applied to the dancers because they were not employees, but independent contractors.  In earlier decisions, the court had ruled that the dancers had been misclassified, and were, in fact, employees, due to Rick’s Cabaret’s control over the ways that the dancers performed their jobs.

Salvatore G. Gangemi has been selected to the 2014 New York-Metro Super Lawyers list.  Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.  Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

We previously wrote about two recent lawsuits in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued employers under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) for implementing involuntary employee wellness programs.  (See  EEOC Asserts Employee Wellness Program Violates Americans with Disabilities Act  and EEOC Files Second Lawsuit Alleging Wellness Program Violates Americans with Disabilities Act).  Well, last week another case was filed by the EEOC.  This time, though, the EEOC asked a court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent Honeywell from implementing an incentive program planned for 2015 that would entail biometric testing, which would result in a $125 per month health insurance premium reduction for employees.

On November 3rd, the court rejected the EEOC’s request for a temporary restraining order, which means that Honeywell’s planned program can go forward in 2015.  The court expressed no opinion on whether the plan violated the ADA and GINA.  The case will still go forward, and the court will have to address the merits of the EEOC’s claim.

Honeywell criticized the Chicago EEOC Office in a statement, asserting that the EEOC is “unfamiliar with the details of our wellness programs and woefully out of step with the healthcare marketplace and with the core intent of the Affordable Care Act to provide expanded access and improved health care to all Americans.”