Strippers’ unemployment insurance now exists in Kansas. A Kansas Supreme Court ruling gives exotic dancers at strip clubs the right to collect unemployment insurance, according to a Feb. 6 ABC News report.
The case, which classifies exotic dancers as employees and not independent contractors stems from an unemployment claim filed by a Club Orleans dancer in Topeka in 2005. Club owners argued that exotic dancers are independent contractors and that owners merely provide “rental space” for the exotic dancers, whose income is based on tips. The court has decided otherwise, finding an employer-employee relationship.
The Kansas Department of Labor argued that the minimum rates for particular dances and rules binding interactions with customers could be interpreted as rules for employees. The court’s ruling affirms the lower court’s decision, and reportedly mandates club owners to contribute to state unemployment insurance funds.
Michael Merriam, an attorney for Milano’s, a company that owned Club Orleans since 2002, told ABC News that the ruling “was incorrectly decided.”
“The court relied almost entirely on the fact that we had some house rules which were requested by the dancers. They were designed to keep everything legal,” Merriam said. “And the court relied on that fact alone to say we had control over them and that made them employees.” His client does not plan to appeal the court’s decision. “This is the Kansas Supreme Court. This is where it ends,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Labor said this court’s ruling applies to the specific workers affected in the case. “All decisions concerning unemployment are based on the applicable law and the specific facts of each case,” she said.
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