One of my readers sent me an email that I'd like to respond to publicly, because it contains a lot of questions and curiosities that come up. Jessica writes:
"I was reading over your website because there was a girl at my club in Florida who was talking about a lawsuit like the ones you talk about and it got me curious (I’m a college student) so I started Googling online.
One of my thoughts was, shouldn’t we have the right to choose as individuals if we are independent contractor or employee?
The reason why I ask is, there are some nights where I definitely want to be an employee (when it’s slow), it would be great to have no fees and have an hourly paycheck.
But then there are other nights where I would rather keep all of my money and not have to pay taxes. There have been some nights in Miami where I made 2,000 or more and the idea of paying taxes on all of that scares me!!!
When I lived in LA, my girlfriend and I tried working for 3 days (it was slow) at a club in San Diego that paid hourly paychecks to its dancers. They paid hourly, with overtime if you worked overtime, and then the customer paid the bouncer the dance money like most clubs in Cali. After your first 3 dances, they started splitting the money with you 50/50 and put it as a bonus on your paycheck. I didn’t mind this set-up, but the club was slow so we didn’t stay. Also, it was clear that they could fire you if you didn’t sell enough dances each week, kind of like a quota (understandable).
I was talking with a few of my girlfriends and all of us hate the idea of paying taxes. My question is, how do we get around that if we are employees?
Also, do you like the idea of having a choice to be contractor or employee, or is that a bad idea?
What are your thoughts or ideas?
Just trying to get another perspective. I am thinking maybe of doing a term paper on this next year for my intro law class. If so, I'd like to interview you or get some quotes from you since you have some much experience in this area."
Here is my response to Jessica:
Individuals don't decide the legal definition of an employee versus an independent contractor. There are specific definitions according to the IRS, NLRB and Department of Labor. Even if an individual states that she is an independent contractor, if her employer imposes rules upon her that define her as an employee, she can still sue the club. These laws were made to protect workers from employers exploiting them, employers who lie to them and take their rights away from them. Many strippers are deluded into believing that they are independent contractors, simply because they want to be. However, they still follow schedules, rules and rotations that legally define them as employees. There is something called Title VII that people fought and died for. Title VII protects workers from sexual harassment, racial and sexual orientation discrimination. However, Title VII only protects employees-- not independent contractors. Many other protections apply only to employees. The power that employee status yields should not be ignored.
Everyone pays taxes in a socialist society. Do you like libraries, hospitals, fire departments, clear roads, a future with medicare, the idea of free college tuition, free public schools for children and public drinking fountains? Taxes pay for all of those things in a socialist society. Libertarians are near-sighted and selfish. They believe that a tax-free society where private corporations control everything is a good idea. In reality, this would be catastrophic.
Workers such as bartenders and servers rarely claim everything on taxes that they make in tips. I am not suggesting you do that. I am suggesting that many other workers with jobs that get tips are able to maneuver around paying what they actually owe.
Currently, strip clubs fire dancers for whatever reason they want. For example, I have been fired for not flirting enough with management and bosses, for standing up for what is right, for not shaving my pubic hair and for not wearing ankle breaking heels. Many other dancers are fired for the color of their skin or body shape.
You girlfriends sound like ignorant and selfish libertarians who do not give a fuck about those who are in need of social services. I pay taxes because I care about my fellow human beings who are in need of social services. I also know that I can be audited and accused of tax evasion if I don't pay my taxes, just like your girlfriends can. Donald Trump is an evil misogynist piece of shit who doesn't pay his taxes and the world is sick and scary. Plus, wouldn't you want to have employee status so you can unionize the work force and make more money, as well as protect your fellow workers from employer exploitation?
Why don't you read the rest of my website before asking questions about what I think about some of these things? There are a lot of links and content that could help you understand the legal definition of an employee and how in a strip club, even if you have the delusion that you are an independent contractor, you are an employee. I also suggest reading an interview with filmmaker Hima B that covers some of what you are wondering about. Here is the link: License to Pimp