I am an exotic dancer in Houston who was told by my boss that since we make so much money in tips, we are not entitled to any hourly wages. Is this allowed?

No, this is not allowed. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), even exotic dancers are entitled to a fair hourly wage in Texas, regardless of the amount of money they make in tips each week. 

Strippers are covered by the FLSA, which means they must be paid at least minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. Depending on club or disco that employs the exotic dancers, it is possible that the employer may decide to take the federal tip credit of $5.12, giving them the option to pay the dancers $2.13 per hour. This can only be done, however, if the dancers make at least $5.12 per hour in tips, so that when added together they are making at least minimum wage. 

If they do not make that in tips, the employer is required to pay the difference. 

It is unfair (and illegal) for employers to misinform their staff about strippers and wage laws, and it is also against the law for club owners to require dancers to pay a nightly fee to work there, to split their tips with the DJ or to give a portion of their income to the bussers or other hourly-paid employees. 

The best way to learn all of your rights under the FLSA as a Houston stripper is to contact the lawyers at Kennedy Hodges for a completely confidential – and free – consultation. Not only will the lawyers provide you with a list of options to protect your paycheck, but they will also provide you with a free copy of their book, Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Wage and Overtime Claim, when you call 888.449.2068 or by filling out the online form.
Galvin B. Kennedy
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Galvin Kennedy is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice to overtime and wage claims.