Independent Contractor vs Employee Relationship: A Stripper's Story

A recent South Carolina Court of Appeals case analyzed the employer/employee relationship vs. independent contractor under a most unique set of facts and circumstances. I would hate to spoil your learning about the law by improperly paraphrasing as a great deal of thought had to go into those sentences. The legal writing is something to be admired.

Essentially the court determined that the stripper was an independent contractor and not entitled workers' compensation benefits from the business in which she was working at the time of her injury. The court referred to the four factors that help determine the work relationship set forth in  Wilkinson ex rel. Wilkinson v. Palmetto State Transp. Co., 382 S.C. 295, 299, 676 S.E.2d 700, 702 (2009):

  1. direct evidence of the right or exercise of control;
  2. furnishing of equipment;
  3. method of payment; [and]
  4. right to fire.

An in-depth analysis of these four factors under the facts and circumstances of the case are broken down in great detail. I encourage anyone that has a question about how strippers perform their work, when an employee vs independent contractor situation arises, and/or workers' compensation case to read over Lewis v. L.B. Dynasty, Inc., d/b/a Boom Boom Room Studio 54 et. al, Op. No. 2010-165646 (S.C. Ct. App. filed September 5, 2012).

Here are a few excerpts:

"The clubs where Lewis worked are commonly referred to as strip clubs. Lewis's role as a dancer in these clubs is what most people would call being a stripper."

"She argues that the club furnished equipment, such as the stage for dancing; poles to assist the dancers; private rooms for V.I.P. dances; tables, chairs, and couches for the customers; and even glasses in which the bartenders poured their drinks. In her brief, Lewis states, 'The club provided the dancers with cleaning solution, towels, and a basket for collecting money while on stage, and the club provided the dancers with lockers for their belongings.'

"The extent to which an exotic dancer in the Boom Boom Room decides the manner in which she performs her dance to satisfy the club's customers, according to the record in this case, is not subject to any limitation or control by the club."

 

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