Hard Labor or Nice Work, It’s Still Overtime

The nice people from Voyeur Dorm are in the news again. Last time the question was whether a virtual business ran afoul of a local zoning ordinance prohibiting adult businesses providing entertainment 'to the public' (the 11th Circuit said it was not, since the public was not allowed to attend in person). This time twelve former Voyeur Dorm employees are suing the site's owner,

alleging that the daily regimen of semi-nude sunbathing, housekeeping, swimming, showering and chat-room correspondence in the fishbowl of the World Wide Web went well beyond the limited hours they were told they would have to work.

They seek compensation for uncollected overtime pay.

The Tampa company has fired back with a lawsuit of its own, alleging two of the women violated a ''noncompete'' agreement by taking their talents, training and trade secrets to a rival business called Voyeur Cam Friends.

Although cavorting in a dorm may sound like easy labor, the plaintiffs say nitpicky rules often stipulated how they slept (with one leg dangling outside the sheets), brushed their teeth or watched TV (topless, or while painting one's toenails).

'It's not taxing work,'' scoffed Tony Griffin, a labor law attorney representing Voyeur Dorm.

He said the list of required tasks assigned to employees seldom even approached 40 hours a week and that the women could log those work hours sunbathing topless or even sleeping in a provocative nightgown. When not performing the assigned tasks ''on the clock,'' the women were on camera but free to do pretty much as they pleased, the company says.

The company contends the women weren't entitled to overtime anyway, because they worked for a fixed weekly salary.

But the litigants, none of whom still work for the company, say the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 entitles them to overtime pay. They claim a certain number of them had to be in the house at any one time, making them virtual prisoners — and that anyone who left the premises could not leave for long.

I can just imagine the depositions….

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