Are Strippers or Exotic Dancers independent contractors or employees in Clubs?

We’ve been getting many phone calls about labor rights from women who are strippers or exotic dancers.  Many women claim that the clubs they work at have not classified them correctly.

We searched both the IRS website and the U.S. Department of Labor and have created these helpful lists to help you determine if your club has classified you correctly.

If you have any problems at your club and need legal help please contact us today at 1-800-214-1010 or use our employment law problems online evaluation form to get started.

Here’s a list that can help determine if you are classified as an independent contractor or employee in the club.

Independent Contractor Status in a Strip Club means this:

    • You can be fired for any reason and are not protected against discrimination laws.
    • Clubs cannot demand exclusivity.
    • Clubs can charge you house fees.
    • Clubs cannot tell you when to work, how to dress, or how to conduct your business at work.
    • Clubs cannot ask you to pay a percentage or flat fee of your tips earned to management or other club staff.
    • Clubs do not have to pay you wages.
    • You are not entitled to sick days, health care, maternity leave, or workers’ compensation if you get injured at work. You are financially responsible for incidentals.
    • You owe more taxes because you do not have required taxes deducted from a paycheck and thus, required to pay them yourself. In general, independent contractors will be required to pay an income tax on all of your income plus the mandatory FICA tax, which is your contribution to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Depending on where you live, you may be subjected to additional self-employment taxes.
    • While you owe more in taxes, you can deduct work-related expenses. Make sure to keep receipts for anything you purchase for work, including your stage fee receipts. Additionally, your club should provide you with a 1099 form.


Employee Status in a Strip Club:

  • Clubs can’t charge you house fees.
  • Clubs have to pay you an hourly wage that satisfies the minimum requirements for your state, over overtime for more than 40 hours of labor in one 7-day pay period, and let you keep all your tips.
  • You are entitled to paid sick days and workers’ compensation if you get injured at work. You may be entitled to maternity leave and short-term disability leave.
  • You cannot be discriminated against at work – you cannot be given different work, a lower wage, or fired because of your age, gender, race, sexual orientation, country of origin, and many other reasons.
  • Your employer should pay payroll taxes on your wages and you should get a W-2 at the end of the year.
  • You have a right to be accommodated if you are in a domestic violence situation or have a disability.
  • You can’t be fired for talking to other dancers about rights or conditions at the club, or trying to make changes at the club.


What will happen if I take action and sue my club?

We will hold any strip club or gentleman’s clubs accountable if they have broken any Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laws.  In doing so women who have taken part in a class action lawsuit could gain the following: (please note these are examples, every case is different)

  • Back pay of 2-3 years of hourly wages.
  • All “fees” you may have paid to the club.
  • Any other monetary benefits related to an employee status.
  • Recoup any and all “tips” paid to other club workers including DJs and /or House Moms.