PHILADELPHIA — A gentleman’s club is asking a federal court to force one of its former adult entertainers, who claimed she was cheated out of overtime because she was classified as an independent contractor, to submit the dispute to arbitration.
On April 11, Conchetta Inc., doing business as Club Risque, and other parties filed a brief asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to compel arbitration and dismiss Julieann Colon’s class-action lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The business also asked the court to stay discovery pending determination of this motion, according to court documents.
Conchetta argued that the claim should be sent to arbitration because Colon signed an entertainer/performer agreement on Feb. 18, 2015, which clearly stated that if any disputes arose between the parties, they were subject to binding arbitration. The arbitration section also has an explicit waiver of class-action suits.
Defendants further argued that Colon’s claims of being misclassified as a non-employee, her statutory claims and other claims fall within the express language of the arbitration clauses.
Finally, the defendants argued that the court lacks subject matter to consider Colon’s claims regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Wage, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act - Overtime and Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law because those counts involve the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, which involve questions of state law not appropriate for the federal courts to decide, according to court documents.
On March 2, Colon filed the complaint on behalf of all others similarly situated against Conchetta, RT, 413 Inc. and Tacony 2008 Inc., all doing business as Club Risque; Connie Innezzelli; Dean M. Pagano; Ronald Crudele; Theodore Pagano Jr.; and Doe defendants 1-10, alleging that they failed to provide proper compensation to the plaintiff for her work.
In her suit, she alleged unpaid wages, violation of applicable minimum wage law and violation of Workers' Compensation acts.
Colon alleges that she sustained damages from performing her work without being paid equal compensation. She said her former employer allegedly classified her as independent contractor to avoid paying her minimum wage and overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week, according to court documents.