Strippers Granted Unemployment Benefits After Kansas Supreme Court Ruling

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
February 7, 2013|10:00 am

Kansas' highest court recently ruled that exotic dancers who work at gentleman's clubs are entitled to collect unemployment benefits as employees and not independent contractors.

The ruling stemmed from a case that began in 2005 when an exotic dancer filed an unemployment claim that was initially denied.

The dancer worked at Club Orleans in Topeka and filed the unemployment claim, insisting that dancers work for the club by making money through tips.

The clubs owners argued that the dancers were just independent contractors who were provided rental space on the stage from which the dancers could perform.

Attorneys representing the unidentified dancer claimed that the dancers were required to follow various "rules" that were outlined by the owners of the club.

Those "rules," as decided by the state's Supreme Court, equated to employment guidelines and therefore the club was subjected to pay taxes that would go to the state's unemployment insurance fund, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal.

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Representatives for the Kansas Department of Labor maintained that published rates for certain types of dances and rules outlining dancer-customer interaction were interpreted as rules that regulate employee actions, not guidelines for independent contractors.

"The court relied almost entirely on the fact that we had some house rules which were requested by the dancers. They were designed to keep everything legal," Michael Merriam, an attorney representing the company who has owned Club Orleans since 2002, told ABC. "And the court relied on that fact alone to say we had control over them and that made them employees."

Even though Merriam disagrees with the court's decision, he does not plan on filing an appeal.

"This is the Kansas Supreme Court. This is where it ends," Merriam said.

While this may seem as a victory for all exotic dancers looking to apply for benefits, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Labor stated that this particular ruling only is applicable to those involved in the case.

"All decisions concerning unemployment are based on the applicable law and the specific facts of each case," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

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