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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 Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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9 comments
James Madison
James Madison

The dancers are claiming no special skill is required to do their jobs. Their lawyers are obligated to not allow their clients to perjure themselves.

Tessa Smith
Tessa Smith

Stick to your lawsuit ladies. This company is lying and you have the power to prove that. They FORCE you to pay money to charities that THEY get tax right-offs for, they FORCE everything. The NERVE of them to even suggest that if you tip the bartenders/DJs/bouncers/etc. you'll get better service from them is BS like everything else they are saying. It is not your job to pay their employees, and if you need any help PROVING your case, I'd be more than happy to be a witness, as I have worked for them from 1986-1997 then again in 08.When "those" people say it's better to not be an employee, that's another LIE. And ya know why, because THEY are saying it. Whatever comes out of their mouths just do the opposite and you will be doing the right thing for you, as opposed to them. While I have many fond memories and have enjoyed working for several people under this company [Hal Lowrie was a personal friend of mine} the company has gone full blown republican capitalism corrupt since the owners death, and that has been a long long time. STAND YOUR GROUND! The reason that you can and will win this suit {IF you get an UNPAID judge-Good LUCK WITH THAT} is because you will be right and they will be wrong. Take it to a federal level, they won't have a chance. Trust me, I know, because they KNOW they are doing wrong, illegal wrong!

Jimmy Jones
Jimmy Jones

These kinds of suits have been filed all over the country in the last three-four years. They've mostly been successful. When the economy went bad in 2009, most of the upper middle class men who feed these clubs had their credit lines cut back, and that in turn drastically reduced the number of people using these clubs.

Pun N. Tended
Pun N. Tended

And in other news babies are crawling at an alarming rate leading to rug burnt knees. You're strippers. The real money is in porn dummies.

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