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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A group of strippers is suing several South Carolina nightclubs, saying they weren't paid according to federal standards.

The lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this year accuses clubs in Columbia and Greenville of violating minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Club operators deny the allegations and say the dancers were independent contractors who were paid fairly. Last month, the operators filed a counterclaim seeking dance fees the strippers received, in addition to their regular wages.

The lawsuit was first reported by The State newspaper.

The case is similar to others filed around the country. In September, a federal judge in New York City ruled that exotic dancers at a club there are protected by labor laws and entitled to at least a minimum wage.

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