Are Strippers Self-Employed? Landmark Court Case

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Stripping has been in the news again this week, with more publicity highlighting that its not always a glamorous and rosy picture after all.  A former stripper is in the process of suing Stringfellows after she was ‘unfairly dismissed’.  According to reports if she wins it could set a legal precedent for dancers in the adult entertainment industry, and give the dancing girls of Britain legal rights.  Our rights as lapdancers are pretty murky, even though the obligations that we have to the club are set in stone, and we are often fined, suspended or sacked if we break them.
The Guardian did a great piece on the case in their legal section, find it here.  If you prefer a more sensationalist tabloid view, the Daily Mail wrote about it here and the Sun here.
At the moment lapdancing is pretty one sided – heavily weighted in the clubs favour.  There will always be more girls willing to take a dancers place after all, especially in these desperate times.  A girl can be here today, gone tomorrow, even if she has been at the club for 6 months – even 6 years!  It’s a real pack your bags and F**k off mentality, and whilst some clubs operate a three strikes and your out system, with a written record of any misdemeanours, quite often its a case of bullying, personality clashes and a show of power.
If she wins, the Guardian’s legal affairs correspondant says that we could get the same legal rights as other employees.  I’m a bit unsure what else it could mean for us lapdancers as, unsurprisingly, all the articles focus on the kind of questions I get endlessly asked myself – How much did she earn, what was her biggest night, who did she dance for, did she get naked etc. 
But I’m going to keep an eye on this breaking news story because if she wins, I know by experience that it will probably result in two things; all the dancers will be called in for a house meeting, compulsory attendance or get fined (I’ve had to pay £50 before!), and the management will probably use it as an excuse to deduct more from our wages, ie: if you miss a shift you will get fined, house fee price will rise, some glorified bouncer with nil team management skills will devise a new shift/fine system with out consulting any lapdancers to see what would work.  You may read this and think I’m complaining, but I’m not – generally speaking exotic dancers get treated by the management and clubs the same way motorists often are – as cash cows, with a myriad range of deductions and heavy penalties levied on them.  So I’ll be watching this, and will make space in my diary for the inevitable meeting and deductions to follow….
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sassy

Sassy by name, Sassy by nature, I write to explode the myths which surround the lapdancing profession - standing up for the clubs, the girls and the customers. Its not always drinking champagne and playing with my tits - it can be hassle, hustling and hangovers. At heart I'm just a regular twenty-something posh cockney living in London who likes taking her clothes off...

Comments
  • Mhairi McAlpine#1

    November 19, 2011

    Its a really interesting case. Not least of all because if you are an employee, your employer has a duty of care which involves protection from harassment and discrimination, which could see a rash of claims against lapdancing clubs made by dancers for the harassment that they suffer at the hands of customers.

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  • TheStripClubInsider#2

    November 19, 2011

    I think one thing you have to keep in mind is that there has to be a line drawn that allows for club owners to run thier club as they see fit, and for dancers to be able to run thier business effectively. I cant imagine the rules in London are to much different from Seattle’ but it sounds like there are just a bunch of Nazi-esque club owners over there. I’ve managed several clubs in my area, and haven’t once fined a dancer for any reason. Also I’ve never heard of a situation wear fines are so common that a scale was deemed needed. I have however fired several girls over the years, never for political for personal reasons. Usually for open drug use, wear my hands are tied, or for girls skipping out on house. In most situations the girls will go above my head and get her job back within a few days… which is infuriating by the way. I tend to prefer suspension instead of termination, its increadably effective. That said, as a manager I try to create an environment where girls want to work for me. I have a good team that knows whats expected of them. More often than not my dancers show up on time, work whole shifts, and pay out in full with smiles attached. Adult entertainment can be an ugly business, but it doesn’t have to be. Just my two sense… keep up the good work.

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  • sassy#3

    November 20, 2011

    I agree that clubs should – and need – to be run respecting both the clubs management and rules. Whilst I do tend to generalize, I’ve worked in excessively strict clubs and also in those who are super understanding and friendly. However, when you hear scare stories such as the club in the north of England where they charged dancers for every visit to the toilet ( a pound a go) and i know that punishment and intimidation are common tactics, you know something should be done to challenge the status quo. Like I said though, any challenge will cause inconvenience…

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  • TheStripClubInsider#4

    November 20, 2011

    One pound per visit! Thats some next level shit right there. I wouldn’t even know how to bring something like that up. “Hey bitch… I’m gunna need a couple bucks before you take that tinkle.” So what if a girl had to piss but was broke? Would she be forced to get dressed and go in an alley? Or to just hold it till she was hospitalized? Maybe the house could loan her the $1.57 US and ding her for a couple points of interest.

    Oh, and I think we see pretty eye to eye on all that other stuff.

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