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Posted at 5:10 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Exotic dancer sues Md. club

By Maria Glod

Claiming she should have been paid a regular wage along with tips, an exotic dancer at the Mile High Club in Prince George's County has filed suit under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act,

Sabrina Tullos, who has appeared on HBO Real Sex and was Miss Black Nude in 2002, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, according to her lawyer Jimmy Bell.

Tullos, who began at the club in 2006 and still dances there, argues in the suit that she acts as an employee of the club, not as a contractor, and is entitled to paychecks. She and other dancers receive only tips, according to the lawsuit.

They are required to give the club a daily $15 "tip out" fee to work, half the earnings from each $20 lap dance, and a $10-a-day Disk Jockey fee.

"Imagine a bartender at the Gaylord having to pay the Gaylord just to come to work," Bell said.

An employee at the Mile High, on Aaron Lane in Clinton, said a manager was not immediately available to comment.

Tullos is among the dancers who are making similar claims under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Last year a dancer sued The House club in the District in a case that is pending.

In the eight-page lawsuit, Tullos said she worked at the club about four nights each week and was required to abide by a dress code and appear on stage to dance. She was fined if she did not show up for work or called in sick, the lawsuit states. The club used Tellos's image in advertising campaigns, according to the lawsuit.

Tellos has asked the court to award her $204,600, which includes her calculation of back wages and reimbursement of fees.

By Maria Glod  | January 18, 2011; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse, Maria Glod, Pr. George's  
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Shake it doll get whats yours

Posted by: Frank60 | January 18, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Business has long been trying to stiff its workers by classifying them as independent contractors. Microsoft lost a big case to the IRS. This is just one of the more exotic cases.

Posted by: Garak | January 18, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a lawsuit where neither side enters with clean hands!

I can't wait to see the expert witness testimony on the value of the plaintiff's services.

Posted by: nan_lynn | January 18, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

sue them all until they drop. What is yours is yours!!

Posted by: pierredickson | January 18, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I hope this finally results in a Happy Ending.

Posted by: WmarkW | January 18, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't WAPO post a photo? They would have if the subject had been some ugly punk.

Seems discriminatory to me.

Posted by: wobbleman47 | January 18, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Why is it called exotic dancing, rather than erotic dancing? Isn't that more accurate?

Posted by: sheckycat | January 18, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

As an ex dancer myself in MD where I worked the same rules applied late fees tip out to bartenders DJ each night the stage fee it's called you pay every shift to work there and let's not forget if you didn't make your drink quota just to walk in the door you paid out $65.00 a night just to work there god forbid you did something wrong or called out sick other fees were then added on it was crazy.

Posted by: weezer45 | January 18, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

You know, a Google search on "Miss Black Nude" doesn't turn up anything but DVD's to order.

This doesn't sound like a terribly prestigious pageant.

Posted by: WmarkW | January 18, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

WEEZER45: No wonder you were a dancer; you surely have no brains to do anything else. You're a total air head. Your post was one long rambling sentence full of grammatical errors. Go back to school.

Posted by: vuhvuh | January 18, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

You go girl! Sue their asses off!

Posted by: 1g23 | January 18, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Good for her!

Shake it
Don't break it
Took your Momma 9 months to make it

May 2 Live Crew videos live forever!!!

Posted by: bushido11 | January 18, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

@ VuhVuh: Don't hate. Tell you what since you got all "nerdy" on somebody, why don't you go read a book in traffic?

Posted by: Bullzards80 | January 18, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

She has a point if the establishment is charging late fees and fees to call in sick. If the dancers are independent contractors, shouldn't they be able to show up at their leisure? I'm curious about what she looks like too.

Posted by: HappyArmyWife | January 18, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

she might win, but probably will force bankruptcy and put a bunch of people out of work who dont have many alternatives. why not just work elsewhere and cut your own deal.

Posted by: mikey999 | January 19, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

The sex workers should unionize.

Posted by: johng1 | January 19, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

the problem with this situation is that under the current business model for strip clubs, almost all of the revenue is generated by the strippers, who then have that money siphoned off to pay the operating expenses of the club and make sure the owner makes a profit.
The clubs instead could charge large entrance fees or more for drinks etc, and tell patrons to tip the dancers less or even not at all.
In general, no matter what your job is and no matter who your boss is, when you work for someone else, you are getting ripped off. thats just how capitalism works.

Posted by: MarilynManson | January 19, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

@ VuhVuh: Go get a life! I can’t stand idiots such as you who like to hop on WAPO and patronize people. So what if this young lady (WEEZER45) has grammatical errors in her post, she got her point across!!! Its fools like you who turn their noses up, when in all reality; IT’S YOUR UPPER LIP THAT STINKS...PS, I BET IF SHE GAVE YOUR NERDY A$$ A SHOT...YOU WOULDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH HER!!!

Posted by: dmcclure05 | January 19, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

If she wants a union, then go work in Reno or Vegas. As for Jimmy Bell, Is there a "CASE THAT HE WILL NOT TAKE" ???????

Posted by: Raidersfan2 | January 19, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I hope she wins and forces the club owner to pay her in one dollar bills!! Make it rain!!

Posted by: PepperDr | January 19, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

you knew what the rules were going in and you accpeted them.... now you wanna sue 5 years later ??? Looks like someone is not making the money she used to and looking for quick buck... here is an idea... How about you work like a bartender.. you get 2.10 an hour plus tips and liek a bertender, you have to tip out your help (which in a dancer's case... a DJ, if there). or better yet... lets treat this as a hair stylist or barber... they have to rent the chair space so the club charges you a monthly pole "renting " fee... or better yet, if you dont like how their operations and procedures work... go some place else that better suits you and alows you to make more money!

Posted by: rvanags | January 19, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If you can get fired for not showing up to work, if you are required to kick back part of the money you earn to other employees, then you are an employee.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | January 19, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

If she gets fired can she collect unemployment?

Posted by: kdukes1 | January 19, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: urscrewed911 | January 19, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: urscrewed911 | January 19, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

unfortunately this is a case of some botttom feeders being greedy. They will force many of these clubs that haved supplied an option for unskilled ladies to bridge a gap to a better life to close. These ladies whom are used to making hundreds or thousands of dollars weekly(untaxed) now will have go waitress tables for a lot less. So for a couple of the really greedy ones they screw the rest of the dancers.

Posted by: loandoctor1234 | January 19, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who deals with Jim Bell, watch yourself and your pockets...that's all I have to say.

Posted by: lwds | January 20, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who deals with Jim Bell, watch yourself and your pockets...that's all I have to say.

Posted by: lwds | January 20, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

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