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Clubs strip dancers of worker rights

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Dancers and so-called massage therapists have sued Massachusetts strip clubs that classify them as independent contractors rather than as employees.

In Massachusetts, employees are entitled to a minimum wage, Social Security benefits, workers compensation protections and overtime pay.

About 50 women reportedly have asked to share in one of the latest settlements of such lawsuits that alleged they were owed pay and benefits.

The settlement, with Club Alex's in Stoughton, Mass., set aside $400,000 for the women and $200,000 more for attorneys who litigated on their behalf, according to the Enterprisenews.com, the online unit of Brockton, Mass., newspaper The Enterprise.

Up to 100 more women that worked at the club between December 2006 and September 2009 reportedly may be eligible to share in the settlement.

Six or seven other clubs have been sued or are being sued after a Suffolk County judge reportedly ruled last year that plaintiffs could seek damages from King Arthur's Lounge in Chelsea, Mass., a case that is headed for trial.

Since the litigation began, some Massachusetts clubs have classified dancers and massage therapists as employees and paid them minimum wage, including Club Alex's, according to the website.

While the club allegedly classified the women as independent contractors, it also reportedly told them how to do their work, when to work and other details of the job. In fact, the club reportedly required them to pay daily fees ranging from $32 to $75 to perform.