Strippers are Employees, Not Independent Contractors, in Georgia
Exotic Dangers or “Strippers” are Entitled to Workers’ Compensation and Minimum Wage Protections
Many business owners in Georgia try to avoid workers compensation insurance, minimum wage protections, and Fair Labor protections by classifying their workers as independent contractors rather than employees.
Can they do that? Or, are you really just an independent contractor?
Each case is different but a recent decision by Judge Thrash in Federal Court in Atlanta is a good illustration of the facts that it takes to be considered an employee when your boss is trying to call you an independent contractor.
In Cire v. Great American Dream, Inc., case #1:2013cv03297, the dancers sued Pinups strip club when they were fired for getting pregnant (outside of work). The dancers argued that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they were protected from being fired for being pregnant and that the club needed to provide them another role they could work while pregnant.
All strip clubs in Georgia take the position that the dancers are independent contractors.
The club owners point to these facts:
- the dancers are never paid anything by the club
- the dancers are advised from the beginning that they are independent contractors.
The dancers have these facts on their side:
- the club tells them that to get a busy night on schedule, they have to work slow nights too.
- they have to work particular shifts and cannot leave early.
- they have to pay fees to get particular shifts.
- they are fined for violating club rules relating to behavior at the club.
- they are required to attend meetings at the club.
Judge Thrash’s decision is being appealed but given that U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story reached the same conclusion in a different case evaluating dancers’ rights, the ruling should be upheld on appeal.
What does it mean?
It means that adult entertainment dancers or “strippers” are entitled to the same protections as employees at McDonalds. If they get hurt on the job while stripping, they are entitled to medical care and wages under workers compensation law. In a recent case, we were able to get workers compensation benefits for a dancer who fell in a dark club and underwent surgery after breaking her arm.
It also means that unless there are drastic changes in payment policies, dancers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime if they work past 40 hours. The establishments also cannot fire a dancer just because she gets pregnant.
Let’s be honest, many Georgian’s have a real problem with the adult entrainment industry but the reality is that these ladies need the protection of the law more than anyone against club owners and management. There is a gross imbalance of power and this is a victory for adult entertainment dancers that is long overdue.
Our firm is reviewing cases for a class action for former and current dancers against clubs that did not provide these protections. We are also accepting workers compensation cases for dancers who are injured on the job.