The Difference Between Employee and Independent Contractor Status for Exotic Dancers—And Why it Matters

As more and more adult clubs across the nation are being named in wage violation suits, it is becoming clear that exotic dancers are often misclassified as independent contractors for pay purposes—and many dancers are unaware that their rights are being violated. If you work as a dancer at an adult club in Texas, here are some answers about the misuse of independent contractor status and your rights.

What Does it Mean to Be an Independent Contractor?

If you are classified as an independent contractor, you are not eligible for overtime pay and other employee protections, such as workers’ compensation. Independent contractors generally have control over how, when, and where they work, but certain strict requirements must be met under the law in order to legally use independent contractor status. Unfortunately, although exotic dancers are often classified as contractors for pay purposes, the truth is that they are usually still expected to perform their work as though they are employees.

Paid Like an Independent Contractor, but Treated Like an Employee

Although classified as independent contractors, many dancers find that they do not enjoy the benefits of the pay status, instead being treated as employees—without the actual protections of employee status. For independent contractor status, the emphasis is really on the word “independent”—independent contractors generally work independently, have creative control, and can control how they perform their work.

Instead, dancers who are misclassified as independent contractors—but should be protected as employees—may be required to:

  • Work a certain number of hours or certain shifts
  • Work unpaid overtime hours
  • Attend meetings and training sessions without pay
  • Use only costumes and stage names given or approved by the employer

If you are an exotic dancer who has questions about pursuing a claim against your employer for labor-law violations, reach out to our team today at 888-449-2068—and don’t forget to request your free copy of our exclusive book, Exotic Dancers’ Rights to Fair Pay Under the Law: How Dancers Are Winning Wage Lawsuits Across the Country.