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OFF BEAT: Exotic dancers challenge independent contractor status


Eight exotic dancers at Jaguars Gold Club in Texas say they want overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week.

The dancers at the adult entertainment clubs in Abilene, Dallas, Fort Worth Lubbock and Odessa reportedly say they have been hired as independent contractors, so they are neither paid by the hour nor do they receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week.

In their lawsuit originally filed in October, the dancers said the clubs schedule them to work in shifts, applying a fine if they fail to show up—and the dancers have to pay a house fee to work.

Texas Tech law professor Jarod Gonzalez has been quoted as saying independent contractors typically work their own hours and provide their own equipment for whatever job they’re doing, while employees follow a shift and use tools provided by the company.

In documents filed last week, attorneys for the dancers reportedly said the litigation seeks “to exploit what has been a long and mutually beneficial, albeit ‘informal’ relationship, wherein performers are given a generous opportunity to share in the prosperity generated by the popularity of ‘upscale gentlemen’s clubs.’”

The dancers’ attorney, Galvin Kennedy, told that the independent contractor system “is the way it’s done in almost every strip club across the country.”

However, he added, “I think over the next five years as a result of lawsuits like this, you’re going to see a big change. Otherwise, I’ll keep suing.”