Adult Entertainers

Adult Entertainers are often the victims of wage theft, particularly where clubs require tipping out of DJs, bouncers or other house employees, or deduct fees from tips and other wages.



Are Exotic Dancers “Independent Contractors”?

No, not in Massachusetts.  If you receive a 1099 tax form instead of a W-2, you are probably being misclassified as an “independent contractor.” Generally, clubs cannot get around providing worker protections by classifying their dancers as “independent contractors.”  In Massachusetts, if a worker is performing the usual business of the company, the worker must be treated as an employee and receive all employee benefits.  Massachusetts courts have repeatedly stated the obvious – that “strippers dancing at a strip club are performing within the usual course of business of the club” and therefore must be treated as employees. Jenks v. The Golden Banana, 28 Mass. L. Rptr. 579 (2011).

What Benefits Are Employees Entitled to?

Employees are entitled to such benefits as minimum wage, overtime pay, paid sick time, and unemployment insurance.  The biggest benefit for dancers, though, is that many of the fees clubs charge them are illegal.

Can a Club Require Tip Outs and Other Fees?

Regardless of whether a club illegally classifies its dancers as independent contractors, or properly classifies them as employees, the club has to follow Massachusetts tipping laws.

Many of the fees clubs take from their dancers are likely illegal.

Clubs likely cannot charge dancers a fee to perform at the club, or to use a VIP room.  Massachusetts also has a strict tip-splitting statute.  Generally, an employee cannot be forced to share a tip with “the House,” or others like DJs, bouncers, VIP room attendants, etc.

But What If I Signed Something?

It does not matter if you signed a document saying that you consider yourself an independent contractor.  Some contracts may impact how a lawsuit would be handled.  But, no matter what you signed, you will have a right to seek your wages and other damages if a club is violating the law.

Would I Have to Pay for a Lawsuit?

No.  Lawsuits such as this are usually done on what is called a “contingency” basis.  Your lawyer only gets paid if the case settles or you win.

If you are interested in discussing your situation, please send us an email at or call us at (617) 390-7570 for a free confidential consultation.  We have recovered millions of dollars for Massachusetts workers.