Strippers Fight Financial Exploitation With Lawsuit

Massachusetts strippers have filed lawsuits against the clubs that employ them, claiming exploitation…of the financial kind. As the economy worsened, clubs tried to take a larger cut of dancers’ falling tip incomes.

The suit alleges that while dancers were treated in many ways like employees, the club gave them independent contractor status. They had many of the responsibilities of being an employee, without their employers fussing about pesky things like minimum wage and overtime laws, Social Security, and worker’s compensation.

The lawyer, Tod A. Cochran, of Boston, said he believes strip clubs in Massachusetts routinely violate state labor law by misclassifying dancers as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime, Social Security, workers’ compensation, and other benefits. Customers, he said, should be “outraged that the club isn’t sharing any of its profits with the workers and is exploiting [the strippers] by not only not paying them but by charging them a fee.”

The club had argued that selling alcohol was its main business, not putting on strip shows, and that performers were independent contractors who provided extra entertainment akin to televisions and pool tables at a sports bar. [Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances A.] McIntyre scoffed at that in her ruling, saying, “The dancing is an integral part of King Arthur’s business.”

Yes, we’re quite sure that everyone visiting that establishment is doing so for the alcohol. And comparing human beings to televisions and pool tables speaks to the respect that this establishment clearly has for its dancers.

Strippers’ lawsuit challenges independent contractor status [Boston Globe]

(Photo: brettneilson)