I am an exotic dancer and just got an injury on stage, doI qualify for workers compensation since I got injured within club premises?

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I am an exotic dancer and just got an injury on stage, doI qualify for workers compensation since I got injured within club premises?

Exotic dancers are usually self contractors. I work at a fully nude club where all dancers must go on stage to perform on the strip pole. I was called on stage by the DJ, I went on stage and got wood splinters stabbed in my leg due to the poor maintenance on the floor. Keep in mind this stage is not cleaned between shifts and the floor has not been changed or upkept in years.

Asked on August 4, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are an independent (or "self" as you call it) contractor, you would not be entitled to worker's compensation--worker's compensation is only for employees. If you believe you were injured due to the negligence, or unreasonable carelessness, of the club in not maintaining the floor, etc. correctly, you may be able to sue for compensation--though if you did not suffer severe injury or incur much medical costs, it's most likely not worth suing.

Note that you may actually be an employee--and should be paid as an employee, be eligible for overtime, worker's compensation, etc.--even if you are called a self- or independent contractor. The issue is not how your employer characterizes you, but the nature of how you work and your relationship with them. If you only work for one club and are subject to their direction as to hours, how you perform, etc., there is a very good chance you are actually an employee and may be owed compensation (including, for example, that they should have paid the employer portion of FICA for you). A number of clubs have been successfully sued by exotic dancers for mischaracterizing them as independent contractors when they are really employees. You can go to the Department of Labor (DOL) website for information on when someone is an independent contractor and when they are an employee, and/or consult with an employment attorney.


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