Stripper Suit: PT's Clubs Respond to Lawsuit Demanding Wages for Exotic Dancers

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We've been thinking about it a lot, and Brandy Apple is still one of the best ever stripper names.
For one thing, contractors get to write off work-related expenses when they file their taxes, Shafer says. Employees don't.

"You see these entertainers take deductions for such things as a home office, travel expenses, any fees they pay to the club, any fees they pay for their costumes, for their nails, for their make-up, tanning salons, gym memberships," Shafer says. "Exotic dancers can take deductions for cosmetic surgery for their business purposes. We see these all the time on tax returns entertainers file. Entertainers cannot do that if they are an employee."

But what if the strippers don't want makeup and surgery? What if they want a paycheck and health insurance?

"You can't take the good parts of being an independent contractor and then say, 'I want the good parts of being an employee as well,'" Shafer says. "You can have one or the other."

See also: 13 Reasons Your Exotic Dancer Hates You

Shafer flatly denies that dancers were threatened or punished for asking to become employees or that they are required to share tips.But, Shafer says, in a tip-intensive industry like a strip club, the dancers are likely to get better service from bartenders, DJs or doormen if they tip them out.

"They are not required to share their tips," Shafer says. "They can voluntarily give somebody a tip."

In their lawsuit, Apple and Sheer's lawyers cite a 1997 court case, Harrell v. Diamond A Entertainment, Inc., to establish precedent that nightclubs must pay dancers a minimum wage.

Shafer knows a thing or two about the Harrell case. He tried it. And it's not proof that strippers are entitled to the rights of regular employees, he says.

The judge in the case ruled that the issue needed to be decided by a jury, Shafer says, but in the end, the plaintiffs dropped the claim without a settlement.

"The plaintiffs saw very clearly that they were not going to win, and they gave up," he remembers.

VCG Holdings still has some time to respond to the suit, which was filed on January 31.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at

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