We’re featuring another exotic dancer advocate, Miss Sadie McLaren, who has generously allowed us to re-blog her stories of employment rights and helping other dancers learn more about the stripper industry.
Sadie McLaren lives and works in Davenport Iowa, and is a writer, a union officer at IAEU (International Adult Entertainment Union), a journalist, does public relations and speaks three languages. Visit her blog here: http://sadiesdiaries.blogspot.com/
We’re re-blogging her featured story from February 6, 2019.
Dancers are Confused and Afraid of the Future: Why?
For as long as dancers have existed, they’ve been considered independent contractors. Most even sign a waiver saying we agree that we are independent and not actual employees. There’s just one small problem with that scenario; dancers ARE employees. The majority of US clubs employ dancers by keeping them on strict schedules and having them follow strict rules; two major identifiers that actually make them unpaid employees. What’s the difference?
If you’ve kept up with US news, you may know or not know of a recent California supreme court ruling; differentiating between employees and independent contractors. The ruling left California dancers in a somewhat precarious position. Not all of them want to be actual employees. Let’s circle back to the difference, before I go any further.
An independent contractor:
* Works on their own time
* Does NOT have a regular “boss”: so long as they perform their specific job duties without problems.
* Keeps track of their own finances and taxes
* Can work anywhere, anytime & with minimal supervision.
* Nobody can control when or how they work, so long as they stick to their job description; as adult performers.
Think of your hairdresser at the salon. She rents a station. She is an independent contractor. She works for herself and on her own time.
* Has a schedule
* Must undergo formal training
* Must adhere to strict rules
* Is told how, when, where, etc. to do their jobs.
* You can be fired or penalized for poor work ethic.
Think of any job with W4 & W2 forms and possible benefits – (healthcare, 401K, etc.) Waiters, accountants, lawyers, etc.
So why in the world are dancers walking the line? Why do they have qualities of both? Simple, owners pay fewer taxes on independent contractors. Employees = a higher tax bracket; not to mention, the owner would have to pay anywhere from 15 to 100 employees. Unfortunately, sticking girls on long schedules, never being allotted a break or time off is HIGHLY illegal. So much so that dancers are wising up and suing club owners. Regardless of this fact, why are so many reluctant to file charges and make their jobs legal? Fear.
Men’s Clubs, an industry run on fear.
Women have a fear of losing their jobs, and a fear of starting over. Mostly, this is an industry run on fear. Some clubs are worse than others. Some clubs have girls so terrified that they work like robots. After years and years of the industry being what it is, girls stopped questioning it. It used to be one of the more lucrative careers; not so much anymore.
Clubs losing business, is Internet Porn to blame?
Clubs are in fact losing business these days. Internet porn and cam girls have taken the place of dancers. Some clubs regularly only have 3 girls working while others have 100 girls…Both clubs have days when they’re lucky if 10 customers come in. Dancers used to own homes and drive nice cars; now they’re on Medicaid and food stamps. The industry is dying and clubs being forced to turn girls into paid employees are going bankrupt. Not every state has sufficient liquor laws to make up for such a huge loss, for clubs.
While some may agree that these clubs need to be paying girls, most dancers prefer NOT to be scheduled. They choose to dance because they (technically) are supposed to be able to decide their own hours. Instead they’re scheduled for 10 hours, get NO break (which is illegal…schedule= employee= break!) and are worked like dogs.
They give away so much money to the clubs that they may have had $200 at one point, but only leave with $40 or $50.
Tips are mandatory, never at the dancer’s discretion & often have a minimum.
Dancers are now being made aware of the lies about employment classifications.
Dancers are now waking up and realizing they’ve been lied to. Some are suing for employment and wages owed. Others are suing to get rid of all things “employee”. I cannot tell anyone which option is more desirable, as these decisions are made to be conducive to their own lives; not the owner’s life. The owner is only supposed to be there to oversee things. They make a lot of profit off the dancers. They know it’s illegal but do it anyway. They (club owners) know 99% of girls don’t question anything because they make great money.
The myth that dancers are rich is just that; a myth. Most of us struggle and are just as broke as a McDonald’s employee. If these girls weren’t worked to death, they’d make more. A tired and exhausted dancer can’t perform to her full potential, and therefore makes less money. The more hours they work, the less they make. And the ONLY reason for that is the fact that owners see walking dollar signs, and not people. Dancers are there to make someone else rich.
Exotic Dancers Take Action!
In closing I’d like to say this to all exotic dancers everywhere reading this:
You can change your employee status, and you do NOT need to be afraid. You can get fired from jobs at which you are employed. Independent contractors aren’t employees. Sue your club owner if you feel taken advantage of. Get rid of the schedule…KEEP YOUR JOB!!!
If you’re reading this and want to join other dancers in these strip club lawsuits use the form below to contact us or use our online evaluation form here: https://www.employmentlawproblems.com/