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Workers from Raided Hostess Club File Class Action Suit Against Former Employers

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, August 15, 2011, at 05:58PM
Club 907 Raid Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Police cars line the street in front of Club 907 during the November 5, 2010, raid that led to 88 arrests.

Last November, the world of Downtown's hostess bars briefly burst into the public consciousness after a late-night LAPD raid at Club 907 resulted in 88 arrests.

After briefly reopening—and rehiring—the club closed in the months after the November 5 raid. Nine months later, the aftermath of the incident continues.

On Wednesday, former employees of the club will hold a press conference to discuss the class action lawsuit they have just filed against the club's operator, Goliath Inc. The suit charges operators Michelle Hutchinson and Dennis Bowers with systematic abuse, including sexual harassment, wage theft and substandard working conditions.

More than 80 former employees are participating in the suit. They are represented by Monica Guizar of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld and Bert Voorhees and Rebecca Peterson-Fisher of Traber & Voorhees.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles conducted interviews with those interviewed after the raid and found that the women working inside were paid far less than minimum wage, required to earn a minimum quota per-week and to make up any under-quota amount out of their own pocket before getting paid for future weeks. According to the group, management gave better shifts to employees who were more tolerant of patrons' sexual advances.

Hostess clubs do not feature nudity, but instead offer patrons the chance to choose a girl to dance and sit with them. According to rates posted on the door the night of the raid, Club 907 charged $30 per hour. The club, like most Downtown hostess clubs, did not serve alcohol.

A number of hostess clubs continue to operate in the Downtown area.

Update (Wednesday, 2pm): The club sent over this statement about the lawsuit filing:

Club 907 vehemently denies the frivolous claims in this case. The Club complied with all California labor laws and the documents will prove that Club 907's employees received well more than the minimum hourly wage. The sexual harassment allegations are false and being driven by a long term, disgruntled former employee who had a falling out with her supervisor. This case is nonsense, and Club 907 intends to aggressively defend it and expects that a court will throw out the class action allegations.

The Club believes that the attorneys' attempt to try this case in the media is a veiled effort to infuse politics into this dispute and it will not be tolerated. We expect to be vindicated by a jury.

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