INDEPENDENT ENTERTAINER COALITION
The Independent Entertainer Coalition is the largest established trade group for Exotic Dancers in the United States. Established in 2015 by three exotic dancers from Los Angeles, our organization and its charter have grown to over 2,800 signees nationwide!
Our organization was formed largely in response to the anti-worker movements throughout the country that seek to strip away the worker’s choice of deciding her employment status. Generally initiated by radical zealots, ex-dancers, and ambulance-chasing attorneys, these efforts and their associated lawsuits have stripped exotic dancers of their customary choice and instead enslaved them to the tyranny of employment.
For nearly five decades, exotic dancers in the United States have rightfully performed as Independent Contractors in nearly every state. Most adult nightclubs offer entertainers the choice between working as a W-2 Employee or an Independent Contractor. A W-2 employee, a classification with which most are familiar, is reserved for most professions. An Independent Contractor, on the other hand, is usually a status reserved for special talent, temporary workers, the self-employed, artists, etc... all terms that accurately describe the exotic dancing profession. Further, the unique circumstances of the profession have always lent themselves in favor of the independent classification.
Over the last ten years, this pro-entertainer system has been under attack from two enemies.
First, state governments have always been opposed to the Independent Contractor status, despite exotic dancers having been specifically approved as Independent Contractors by the federal government. Why? Money! State governments tax both the employer and employee under Employee classification, whereas only one party is taxed under Independent status. Greedy politicians, like those in California who have led the state to financial ruin, need to excessively tax hard-working single mothers to make government ends meet.
Second, ambulance-chasing attorneys have built a profitable enterprise out of suing innocent adult nightclubs in relation to these issues. In short, strip clubs make bad victims, and as such, have difficulty defending themselves in so-called “misclassification” lawsuits. These hack-job failed lawyers sue the clubs and force these small business owners to pay millions in settlements. Naturally, the plaintiff is usually an entertainer who retired 10 years ago. Her attorney makes millions in legal fees while the entertainers s/he claims to represent make next-to nothing.
This brings us to the present! Clubs have suffered at the hands of the State and the ambulance-chasing lawyers so much over the past few years that many have decided to “throw in the towel” and simply force entertainers to become employees against their will. To worsen matters, the authoritarian California Supreme Court recently issued an unconstitutional decision, Dynamex vs Superior Court, which has severely exacerbated these problems. In the State of California and in many other areas, entertainers no longer have a choice or say in determining their employment status.
For the reasons explained below, virtually all entertainers have historically selected contractor status.
Independent Contractor status has offered numerous benefits and protections to entertainers that are not available under the employee model:
1. Independent Contractors set their own schedules, or maintain no schedule at all. Employees must work a schedule decided by management.
2. Independent Contractors can perform at multiple clubs or travel the country performing at different clubs. Employees are obligated to work at only one club.
3. Independent Contractors enjoy tax deductions not offered to employees. Employees are entitled to virtually no tax deductions.
4. Independent Contractors receive cash income nightly. Employees must wait two weeks for all earnings to arrive via paycheck.
5. Independent Contractors control their own tax payments. Employees must report all tips earned and have taxes withheld on those tips and all other earnings.
6. Independent Contractors enjoy the anonymity that sex work necessitates. Employees are effectively part of a giant government-owned sex worker database that police can use to target and harass them.
7. Independent Contractors have contracts with the clubs wherein they can only be terminated for certain reasons with required notice. Employees can be terminated at anytime for no reason at all.
8. Independent Contractors can perform as much or as little as she desires. Employees are limited to 40 hours (or less) per week.
9. Independent Contractors retain creative control over their performances. Employees have their costumes, music, and routines determined by management.
10. Independent Contractors choose the customers for whom they dance. Employees must dance for whomever management selects on demand.
11. Independent Contractors control their degree of nudity. Employees can be forced to be nude in any lawful fashion that management decides.
12. Independent Contractors are contractually entitled to a large share of the dance sales. Employees own none of the dance sales, and the clubs only have to pay them a minimum wage.
13. Independent Contractors own all of their tips received. Employees can be forced to participate in a “tip pool.”
14. Independent Contractors can take as many breaks for any duration as they desire. Employees only receive short, limited breaks as mandated by law.
15. Independent Contractors would never give free dances. Employees are required to follow management’s instructions, which may include giving free dances.
16. Independent Contractors work for themselves and don’t have to follow direction from management. Employees must do as management instructs, which may include other duties, like cleaning, serving, or promoting.
17. Independent Contractors are free to come and go as they please. Employees must work a minimum number of hours per day and meet a rigid sales quota.
18. Independent Contractors can perform regardless of other factors. Employees can only work if there are “shifts available” and management permits.
First, adult nightclubs all over the State of California have recently closed because they could not afford the “employee model.” The simple fact is that smaller clubs simply cannot financially sustain having so many employees. This results in immediate job loss for everyone involved.
Second, exotic dancers have become enslaved to employment. Their choice and say in the matter has been viciously stolen from them without due process.
Third, this model has resoundingly diminished the effective earnings of exotic dancers to very unappealing levels. At clubs that have forced employee status on its entertainers, entertainers are making 50-70% less money than they were before.
The Independent Entertainer Coalition has one simple demand.
Allow workers, at least those who work as exotic dancers, to continue the decades-long, accepted, and desirable practice of choosing their own employment classification status.
Let those who want to work under the foolish zealot’s “employee model” do so, and let those who wish to break free from employment slavery preserve their natural right to remain Independent Contractors.
CALL TO ACTION
So what can you do? Call your local state legislator. Call the governor. Tell your club managers you want your own choice. Use the Contact Us form below to join our cause and get a link to sign our charter.
We live in a great county. Citizens can CHOOSE their own politicians. Parents can CHOOSE how to raise their children. Women can CHOOSE to have an abortion.
Why not let workers CHOOSE their own classification status?