Club's Strippers Are Employees, Kan. Supreme Court Rules

By Andrew Lu on February 05, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One surprising legal question being asked across the country is: Are strippers employees or independent contractors? The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that in one particular case, they are employees.

Exotic dancers at Club Orleans in Topeka, Kansas, fought for their right to be classified as employees, reports The Kansas City Star. The dispute dates back to 2005.

This classification is important to the strippers, as it can be the difference between receiving and not receiving certain benefits like unemployment insurance.

Employee classification lawsuits are extremely fact-specific. When these suits make it to court, a judge usually has to determine exactly what kind of services the workers provide, and the nature of the underlying business.

A court also considers other factors in an employee-versus-contractor dispute: The degree of control an employer has over a worker, the worker's financial independence, and the worker's importance to the business can all affect the legal analysis.

In the Topeka strip club case, the Kansas Supreme Court analyzed the underlying purpose of Club Orleans and determined that it was to provide strippers to customers. The court noted that all of the club's advertisements featured strippers; without them, the entire business would be different, reports the Star.

In addition, the court looked into the degree of control that the club had over its workers, and found that it supported an employment relationship. For example, the club controlled how the workers clocked in and even how much they could charge customers for specific types of dances.

The greater degree of control by the employer, the more likely the court will find an employment relationship.

Club Orleans supported its argument that the workers were independent contractors by introducing evidence that the strippers "rented" space from them and entered into private transactions with customers.

But given the control that the club maintained over the strippers, the court held that this was not enough to support independent contractor status.

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