Las Vegas Exotic Dancers are Due Workers Comp for Injuries After Being Ruled Employees of Club
The Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, erroneously classified their exotic dancers for years as independent contractors, rather than employees, in order to avoid taxes and workers comp payments.
Now, the Nevada Supreme Court has overturned a previous ruling that the dancers are not due workers comp coverage, finding that the dancers are full employees of the club, and are therefore due workers comp for injuries sustained on the job, as well as minimum wage under state law.
The 7-member state supreme court ruled on October 30th that the “economic realities” test used under the Fair Labor Standards Act can also be used in this instance to determine whether an employer-employee relationship exists under Nevada law. Per the test, the court ruled that Sapphire does not, as the club suggested to the lower court, offer scheduling autonomy, whether or not to dance for specific patrons, or method of payment – instead, the club exerts significant employment control over the exotic dancers. Therefore, the exotic dancers must be deemed “employees,” the Nevada Supreme Court said.
This means that the exotic dancers will be able to file for workers compensation with Nevada to help treat on-the-job injuries, such as falls from poles, twisted ankles from the 5-inch shoes they are required to wear, or mental or emotional injuries sustained from undesirable patrons.
The dancers reportedly received no wages from Sapphire, and instead relied on tips and private dance fees. The court will also determine how much money in back-wages the club owes to its dancers, as the judges stated they were confident that the women strip-dancing there are useful and indeed necessary to its operation.”
Recently, numerous businesses, from construction companies to hospitals to strip clubs, have faced heavy criticism and even government crackdowns because they intentionally mis-classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers comp premiums and other employee safety regulations. Independent contractors are defined, legally, by how much “control” a company has over a worker through telling the employee what to do, and supplying equipment the worker needs to do their job. However, employees of these companies, from cheerleaders to construction workers, are filing Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits against their current or former employers for abusing the independent contractor status. The South Carolina courts have addressed similar exotic dancer wage payment issues which lead to a South Carolina wage payment lawsuit.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina
Any full-time employee (working for an employer with four or more employees) who has an employment related injury and needs medical attention should be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if the injury was a complete accident or the fault of a co-worker.
The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you have been injured on the job, give us a call. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.803.252.4800.