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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Are strippers "independent contractors"?

Most club owners say they are. But some of the performers say they aren't.

Comments (4)

There's no better way to close all the strip clubs than to grant the strippers employee status.

Can you imagine all the employment related lawsuits that would be filed once considering the following factors becomes illegal in hiring/termination decisions?

* Age
* Race
* Sex
* Religion
* National origin
* Disability
* Pregnancy

What happens when a club owner has to hire a disabled stripper and then she becomes pregnant?

How large an audience will want to watch her wheeling herself around the stage during her last trimester?

Years ago the the Communications Workers Union here in Portland tried to organize a local strip club. The Employer's defense was that the dancers were independent contractors. The matter was dropped when it was determined that the club did not meet jurisdictional standards. I later heard that the ladies all had Hell's Angels OLD LADY tatoo's on their buttock's and I assumed they were already employed elsewhere. I think the Angels had a medical (drugs) plan back then and the dancers were never bothered by patrons. True story.

Well employment law was always a murky area for me in law school and I haven't bothered to stay current on it since, but my gut tells me that strippers are employees. They seemed to be operating under fairly direct orders from club management on what to do and when to do it.

I suppose if the girls work at different clubs then the contractor argument flies but if they only work at once place at a time then it seems like they would be an employee.

The industry I am in plays the exact same games with tax law. Basically, if you've ever done payroll somewhere, then you understand just how much a business can save on taxes every year by declaring it's employees to be "independent contractors," knowing full well that they are breaking the law by doing so.

For those of you who are not tax law professors, an IRS guide to which side of the "contractor vs employee" divide you fall under can be found here:


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