Sheri’s Ranch is a legal brothel located in Pahrump, Nevada. According to its website, Sheri’s Ranch is Nevada’s “first and only full-service legal sex resort.”
- Position(s): Courtesans
- Location(s): Pahrump, Nevada
- Time Period: any time between March 30, 2016 and present
The Claims in the Lawsuit
The lawsuit claims that Sheri’s Ranch improperly classified its Courtesans as independent contractors, and that they in fact qualify as employees and are entitled to the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Nevada’s wage-and-hour laws, which include:
Employees must receive minimum wages for all hours worked, free and clear of any work-related deductions or expenses they incur. The minimum wage is $7.25 under the FLSA and $8.25 under Nevada law for employees that do not receive health benefits;
Employees must be paid overtime at 1.5 of their regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek;
Employees cannot be required to share tips with management.
According to the lawsuit, Sheri’s Ranch maintain a “lockdown” policy under which Courtesans are required to remain on the Ranch premises for periods ranging from one (1) to three (3) weeks at a time (with at least one week between such periods) and work daily shifts of either twelve (12) or twenty four (24) hours, during which they are listed as “currently available” on Sheri’s Ranch’s website and must remain available to greet and/or line up for patrons upon request.
The lawsuit further claims that Courtesans’ compensation consists entirely of a portion of the “price” each patron pays to Sheri’s Ranch after booking a session, plus voluntary tips they occasionally receive directly from patrons. This violates the FLSA and Nevada law, the lawsuit claims, because Courtesans do not receive any form of overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty (40) in a workweek, and because in many weeks, Courtesans’ total non-tip compensation, net the amounts they were unlawfully required to “kick back” to Sheri’s Ranch (e.g. rent, meals, commissions to third parties, medical expenses, and bar drinks), divided over the number of hours for which they are entitled to compensation, averaged to below the applicable minimum wage.
3/29/19: the Complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, and has been assigned to District Judge Andrew P. Gordon.
How to Participate
If you believe you are owed wages from the claims in the lawsuit, you can join the case by signing a “Consent to Join” form, which you can obtain HERE.
Until the Consent to Join form is filed with the Court, the statute of limitations ordinarily continues to run. The statute of limitations under the Fair Labor Standards Act is 2 years, and 3 years for willful violations. Thus, if you claim wages from 2 or more years ago, they may become unrecoverable if you delay in signing your Consent to Join form.
If you choose to join this lawsuit, you will be bound by any judgment on any claim you may have under the Fair Labor Standards Act, whether favorable or unfavorable. This means that if you win, you may be eligible to share in the monetary award; if you lose, no money will be awarded and you will not be able to file another lawsuit regarding the matters raised in the lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Defendant discipline or fire me if I join the case?
No! The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits retaliation and imposes harsh measures against employers who retaliate. For further information, please consult the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet.
Will I have to testify or provide documentary proof?
Not necessarily. Many employees obtain monetary recoveries in Fair Labor Standards Act cases without ever having to appear at court or for depositions.
You are not required to provide documentary proof of your unpaid wages. In most cases, the employer is required to provide the employee’s payroll records to the employee and his or her attorney. In fact, the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers keep accurate time and payroll records. The employer cannot escape this duty by requiring you as the employee to provide proof.
However, it is still important that you preserve any physical or electronic evidence relating to the case that you currently possession.
Will Brown, LLC be my attorneys?
Employees who sign Retainer Agreements and/or Consent to Join forms will be represented by Brown, LLC with respect to the lawsuit and claims described above.
You will not be required to pay any attorneys’ fees or court costs to the Plaintiffs’ lawyers at this time and not pay any attorneys’ fees unless you prevail. Rather, in the event the Plaintiffs prevail in the lawsuit, by either judgment or settlement, the Plaintiffs’ attorneys will request that the Court order Defendant(s) to pay the Plaintiffs’ lawyers their reasonable attorneys’ fees and reimburse them for any expenses.
How long will the case take?
It is very difficult to predict exactly how long a case will take. It depends on a variety of factors including the number of parties and claims involved, the rules and pace of the court, the complexity of the proofs, and the manner in which the employer defends the case.
When and if a settlement is reached, additional time is needed to prepare settlement documents, calculate settlement allocations, and seek and await the court’s review and approval of the settlement. Wage-and-hour cases typically take 2-3 years, but this can be shorter or increase considerably.