A group of five black strippers won a $3.3 million settlement after a Mississippi judge determined that the women were forced to work in worse conditions than their fellow white strippers.
The judgment came at the end of a year-long case, the Independent reported. The lawsuit claimed that the management at Danny’s Downtown Cabaret in Jackson forced the black strippers to work less-desirable times and imposed fines of $25 if they missed a shift. The white strippers at that establishment were given more flexible working schedules and not subject to fines, the lawsuit claimed. The black strippers, meanwhile, were forced to compete for the less lucrative work times, known as the “black shift.”
The black employees were forced to work at another establishment in Jackson for lower pay and worse security, and the suit also claimed that the manager of the strip club used a racial slur toward a black employee.
They also faced a backlash for speaking out against the conditions. As City News 1130 reported when the allegations first came forward in 2016, one employee was fired after she refused to pay what was described as a “discriminatory fee” imposed by the club’s management.
The lawsuit was brought forward by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which challenges cases of workplace discrimination.
A U.S. district judge had already ruled against the establishment last year, and a week-long trial concluded this week with jurors deciding that the woman would split $3.3 million in back pay and compensation for their suffering. It was not clear exactly what amount each might end up receiving after lawyer fees or other costs are taken out, but the ruling would give them a gross amount of nearly $660,000 each.
The owner of the strip club expressed disappointment with the decision, and through an attorney announced plans to appeal to have the judgment amount lowered.
A Mississippi jury has awarded a total of more than $3 million to five African American strippers after a federal judge found the women worked under worse conditions than their white colleagues. https://t.co/BloZTwWpeV
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) May 18, 2019
As The Associated Press reported, the judgment in favor of the women earned praise of the EEOC’s regional attorney, Marsha Rucker.
“This case shows the EEOC will sue any employer, operating any type of business, who violates federal anti-discrimination laws, especially those who will not stop discriminating even after being given repeated chances to do so,” Rucker said. “The jury… sent a powerful message to Danny’s and any employer who thinks they are above the law.”
The ruling in favor of the black strippers earned national attention this week, both for the unusual nature of the workplace setting and for the large dollar amount awarded as compensation for the put-upon employees.