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Buoyed by Successes, Exotic Dancers Take Club Owners to Court

Posted on in Employment

Encouraged by a string of successes across the country in which exotic dancers have successfully sued club owners for minimum wages and other employment benefits, many dancers are taking their employers to court to obtain similar benefits.

Recently, exotic dancers at PinUps, a club in Atlanta, won a victory when a judge ruled that the strippers were employees of the club and not independent contractors. Very often, club owners designate exotic dancers as independent contractors, in order to save on labor costs. For instance, independent contractors may not be eligible for employee wages. However, in the Atlanta case, the judge clearly ruled that the services that these dancers provided were essential to the strip club, and therefore, the dancers must be classified as employees, and not as independent contractors.

The strippers in the Atlanta lawsuit had claimed that they were compensated exclusively through tips, because the management classified them as independent contractors. This was in spite of the fact that they were subjected to rules and regulations, like any employee at a company would be. At the time of joining, they were given a General Policies and Procedures document, which outlined the club's rules, including hours of work, dress code for the dancers, and codes of conduct not just on the main stage, but also in the VIP rooms. Failure to comply with those codes could result in dismissal.

There have been a number of such legal successes involving minimum wage and exotic dancers, and several lawsuits that are currently pending against strip clubs across the country. In all of these lawsuits, exotic dancers are claiming that they are eligible for employment benefits, including minimum wage, because they are not independent contractors, but fulfill the criteria for employees.

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