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Thread: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

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    Exclamation California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Okay I know theres a million threads on this and i was going to just comment one of them with this, but I actually think it may be better not to thread jack because i had some questions to ask girls currently working at a club as employees.

    First let me make clear that this was a casual conversation at a bar. A guy was talking to me and he mentioned just recently being hired at a law firm it was the first law firm hes working for and he loves it blahblahblah. At first i was like whatever some lame trying to impress me with the whole “im a lawyer” bs but turned out the firm was an employment law firm and i had some questions about a seperate issue and i swear to god his eyes lit up like he freaking loved employment law. So i decided to ask him about this.
    Now keep in mind this was at a bar and he couldnt reference the actual written law that was passed but he did not believe the clubs are legally in their rights to charge stage fees to employees.
    The law was passed to protect the employees not to make it even harder.
    I dont remember the code number thing he referenced but he compared it to the laws regarding salons. Some states allow booth renting or employment as options. Booth renters pay a fee to rent space in the salon, perhaps some advertising can be worked into the rent if they dont have customers of their own that they bring in but they pay this fee and work whenever they want and keep 100% of the earnings. Their rent is the only thing owed to the salon that their booth is inside of and essentially they are their own boss and can work on their own terms. If you are an employee of a salon they are your your boss they set your schedule and they pay you based on agreed payment structure (hourly+commission or commission only depending on state laws and things) *i do nails my license is an nj license and booth renting isnt legal there but i always was commission only 60/40 salon gave me customers*
    the reason he brought this law up and why i attempted to explain how it works is because although structure and agreed contracts may vary or be up to interpretation the law makes one thing very clear you can not charge an employee a rental fee. Employees are not renting they are working for the business the business pays them for their work and time. They do work for money business pays money for work. Employees do not pay business in order to work.

    That being said he said bc its a new law there are loopholes yet to be shut but the laws were put in place to stop these fees. He actually genuinely was interested in this issue and we exchange contact info and surprisingly he emailed me to inform me he was serious about meeting at his office to look over this where he can pull up the actually law that was passed and get some paperwork going.
    I was actually considering auditioning to get a copy of the contract from deja vu. I think he wants to impress his law firm with this and boost his career by closing these loopholes bc he mentioned all the meetings would be free as long as i wasnt interested in a new lawsuit or suing and was just try to help clean up the current laws terms and stop clubs from exploiting loopholes which im not. I have not met with him in his office only at the bar and through emails but in one week from today we are going to have a real meeting.

    His first thing he wants is clubs to he legally obligated to give each dancer a copy of the payment structure when hiring and the employment laws posted in writing visible to all employees in their break area (in nj this is a law at every workplace. Im not sure about california) he said dancers need to know their rights and a lot of why its easy for clubs to take advantage is because we dont know our legal rights and we dont know the clubs legal rights and the only people informing us are the clubs. Now that we arent indepent contractors the clubs arent supposed to be allowed to have these contracts with mystery payment structures. And we are not supposed to be paying them to work there. The structure is supposed to be hourly+commission +tips no deductions.


    Now i am not a lawyer and im tying this in a hurry so i am not offering legal advice to people interested in lawsuits. I also dont knowhow much of this is correct so I apologize if i am misinformed or interpreting what he said the wrong way. Also hes new and this is a new law so maybe he is misinformed but this looks hopeful and i am willing to work with him so something can be done about this issue without strikes or even more things that put strippers in a bad light to the public. I truly believe if we want this to be fair we have to go about it the correct way, but sitting complaining and doing nothing or just accepting being screwed over will only allow more women to be a victim. Clubs taking advantage and dancers feeling theres nothing they can do about it is how a lot of people in this industry begin the downward spiral of being exploited and taken advantage of but this industry does not need to be that way. I honestly think once fair pay is offered there will be less extras less desperation and less girls whose lives end up in the gutter bc of dancing. Maybe im wrong , but i think we can all agree that we want to be paid fairly.

    So if anyone currently working as an employee is willing to tell me their payment structure, if it was listed in their contract, as well as the effects on your income it has had i wont show him your personal info just numbers and if you feel negatively or positively about the change.

    And please if anyone has seen an improvement in income or like the change please share that as well.

    This really could brung a positive change to this industry and set a precedent for other states also looking to change to employee only. If its never brought to the right peoples attention nothing will change. Hopefully this is the right way to get it our complaints on the desk of who we need to see it.

    Sorry for the novel and grammar and typos.

    ill update this after meeting and keep everyone informed. Im also waiting for the meeting to put the firms name on here and stuff bc its too early for me to know this isnt just another waste of time

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    I'm glad you shared this.

    I started dancing in CA & experienced a lot of problems at work due to how clubs use loopholes to take advantage of dancers.

    My hope is ultimately these laws will help workers (dancers) who really deserve respect and protection.
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    I already messaged you but figured I’d share my numbers with everyone else as well.

    I work at the Deja Vu in North Hollywood. Our pay structure is super confusing but this is how I understand it. We get paid 13.25/hour + dance “bonus”+ tips. However a lot of the girls don’t feel as though they’re getting their hourly wages, we technically are. It’s the dance bonus that’s being mysteriously reduced from our checks is what I’ve figured out.
    So if we put ourselves on the schedule at least three days a week we get 60/40 and if we don’t then we get 50/50. Any tips we keep and claim at the end of the night when we clock out. Now here’s where it gets tricky. The 60/40 or 50/50 structure worked before the new law but now they’re not truly giving us 60/40 as they claim they are.
    Heres an example from one night of work:
    I made $392 in dances for 4.67 hours and I claimed $10
    If that were the only day I worked in the pay period my paycheck SHOULD be
    $235.20 (60% of dances)+ $61.87 (hourly wage)+$10= $307.07 before taxes
    however my paycheck actually is $214.44 so the club is mysteriously taking $92.64 from me unexplained. When I brought it up to management they gave me this weird formula where it basically said they’re taking payroll/workman’s comp/FUTA tax etc out of our dances and then giving us 60% of what’s leftover as our “bonus”. When I told him it’s illegal for them to make us pay for their business tax they said since we’re employees now the money that goes into the machines is their money so they can give us whatever they want out of it as our dance “bonus”.
    This is why some of the girls believe they’re not getting their hourly wages cuz they think they’re paying themselves for the wages but it seems as though the club is taxing us.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Just to clarify since someone pointed it out to me. If that were a real paycheck the split would be 50/50 since it’s for one days work but just for an example I used my numbers from my last shift which I’m currently getting 60/40 for. Sorry for any confusion!

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Hmm, that is weird. Payroll taxes for Medicare, social security etc. are split by the employer and employee, with each paying half. Maybe they leant that this was your half that was taken out?

    They should be giving you an accounting of what they're paying you and what they're withholding for taxes. If not, there very well may be a law about that and a consultation with an attorney would be a good idea.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Seconding this ^^^^ Taxes typically come out of your cheque anyway. It's certainly been that way for every straight job I've ever held. When you get hired, your paperwork includes a form where you designate your withholding so they know what to take out from your cheque each pay period. Your pay stub should have a full rundown of everything that's being deducted and why.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    These numbers are gross earnings so I understand that government taxes (social security, Medicare, etc) are taken out which that’s broken down on the paycheck stub and that’s totally fine but it’s our dance “bonus” that’s being reduced or taxed by the club. They’re using a portion of what we made in dances to pay their FUTA/unemployment/etc taxes which to my understanding only employers pay and then we get 60% of whatever is left over. It’s not truly a 60/40 system like it was before. What is taken out from our bonus is not laid out on our check, it’s very misleading.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thethottiemami View Post
    These numbers are gross earnings so I understand that government taxes (social security, Medicare, etc) are taken out which that’s broken down on the paycheck stub and that’s totally fine but it’s our dance “bonus” that’s being reduced or taxed by the club. They’re using a portion of what we made in dances to pay their FUTA/unemployment/etc taxes which to my understanding only employers pay and then we get 60% of whatever is left over. It’s not truly a 60/40 system like it was before. What is taken out from our bonus is not laid out on our check, it’s very misleading.
    are u still paying house fee? 2 my knowledge house fees r illegal now
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladycaxe View Post
    are u still paying house fee? 2 my knowledge house fees r illegal now

    No we’ve never paid house fees, just share a cut with the club.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thethottiemami View Post
    No we’ve never paid house fees, just share a cut with the club.
    I see. thats good to know cuz many Ca strippers are still paying house fees. I would except a percentage of your dance income to be taken out for taxes. how much is correct is something I'm not sure of. do they show they exact amount taken out and what taxes (medicare, ss, etc) are being paid for, on your paycheck?
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladycaxe View Post
    I see. thats good to know cuz many Ca strippers are still paying house fees. I would except a percentage of your dance income to be taken out for taxes. how much is correct is something I'm not sure of. do they show they exact amount taken out and what taxes (medicare, ss, etc) are being paid for, on your paycheck?

    Yes social security, Medicare, etc are supposed to be taken out of our checks that’s correct. All of that is laid out correctly. My issue is the additional employer taxes that seem to be taken out of our bonus before taxes.
    We are being taxed by the government which is fine but then we also seem to be paying the clubs employers tax that they should be paying and not taking out of our dances like FUTA, workers comp, etc...

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thethottiemami View Post
    Yes social security, Medicare, etc are supposed to be taken out of our checks that’s correct. All of that is laid out correctly. My issue is the additional employer taxes that seem to be taken out of our bonus before taxes.
    We are being taxed by the government which is fine but then we also seem to be paying the clubs employers tax that they should be paying and not taking out of our dances like FUTA, workers comp, etc...
    Well it is a 60/40 or 50/50 split... are you saying they are taking more like 65% ?

    My experience w/ nude clubs is that they take a looot of money. Maybe try a place where they serve alcohol.?
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladycaxe View Post
    Well it is a 60/40 or 50/50 split... are you saying they are taking more like 65% ?

    My experience w/ nude clubs is that they take a looot of money. Maybe try a place where they serve alcohol.?
    Yes from my example you can see they’re taking more than 60%. I couldn’t tell you how much more cuz it varies depending on how much you make in the night. But I would say we’re actually getting a range of 40-50% and even less for those who get the “50/50”.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thethottiemami View Post
    Yes from my example you can see they’re taking more than 60%. I couldn’t tell you how much more cuz it varies depending on how much you make in the night. But I would say we’re actually getting a range of 40-50% and even less for those who get the “50/50”.

    I would assume they are the taking the taxes out of ur dance money.
    That is why you are seeing less than 235.
    This is what most if not all clubs are doing now if I'm not mistaking... It might be shitty but I dont think that is illegal.

    I'd be fighting to keep more of than money. More like 80%. Minus taxes off course. Like I said, alcohol clubs tend to take less money out of ur dances.

    Also you should be getting some of that 92$ back next year during tax season.

    best regards x
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Just like when you work a normal job. 8 hour x 20$ an hour is 160 but more likely you'll be seeing like $120. You can view it however you please but that's just pretty much how it works now. Dance bonus, dance dollars, dance money, call it what you want..... but your dances are being taxed now and not much you can do about taxes. Of course you can fight to keep more money (ie a 80/20 split...mind you that 80% is going to look a little lower after taxes), higher wage, etc..
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    I really do see where you are coming from tho. The taxes must be taken out from somewhere. Your "bonus" probably doesn't really feel like a "bonus".
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladycaxe View Post
    I would assume they are the taking the taxes out of ur dance money.
    That is why you are seeing less than 235.
    This is what most if not all clubs are doing now if I'm not mistaking... It might be shitty but I dont think that is illegal.

    I'd be fighting to keep more of than money. More like 80%. Minus taxes off course. Like I said, alcohol clubs tend to take less money out of ur dances.

    Also you should be getting some of that 92$ back next year during tax season.

    best regards x

    Those are gross earnings meaning that’s what I’m making BEFORE taxes.
    So the $214.44 is getting taxed again on my paycheck stub.
    I’m not saying the taxes on the paycheck are illegal I’m saying the amount they’re taking out of our dances is. They’re making us pay their employee tax. We’re only obligated to pay Medicare, state, federal, ss etc...

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    I think it is definitely illegal. As far as I understand it is legal for an employer to put you on a commission, e.g. 60/40, but they are absolutely not allowed to take extra from that without you agreeing to it explicitly in the contract. For them to make you pay their share of employment taxes out of your own commission just doesn’t seem above board.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    Quote Originally Posted by thethottiemami View Post
    Those are gross earnings meaning that’s what I’m making BEFORE taxes.
    So the $214.44 is getting taxed again on my paycheck stub.
    I’m not saying the taxes on the paycheck are illegal I’m saying the amount they’re taking out of our dances is. They’re making us pay their employee tax. We’re only obligated to pay Medicare, state, federal, ss etc...
    oh wow !
    I appreciate the clarification. I hope u get that money back! D:
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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    I’m about to apply for a dancers permit to work in San Diego. Before I even attempt, is the payout worth all the shit going on with these weird loopholes and money being taken away?? Just curious because I previously danced in Orlando and the only thing we payed for was house, DJ, house mom, and security.

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    Default Re: California dancers ~ I spoke to an employment lawyer

    I went and met with him and ill update later with more details.
    Their law firm is working on different parts of this law across several industries and i almost feel like the meeting was just them trying to find new leeds and some new way to get some sort of media attention for fixing something unfair for literally anyone.
    They said they were making progress with tips being counted in the pay check and taxed as regular wages instead of added in as a tip because they have been dealing with food delivery services and this policy.
    I think what they want though is a head line about their law firm involving strippers opposed to instacart because it just makes a better story.
    I havent read all the responses yet but i did share some numbers from the ladies who inboxed me and gave me permission to , and ill respond to those messages right now.

    When i get a chance to get on the computer ill post some more and some screenshots of the emails they sent me
    Because they are pretty interesting. They sent me a list of forms theyve filed and where they were sent off to and their progress in requiring more clarification and transparency for payment structures.

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