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Court Rules Kansas Strippers Entitled To Unemployment Benefits | Wide World of Work

Court Rules Kansas Strippers Entitled To Unemployment Benefits

It’s the law: Strippers in Kansas are entitled to unemployment benefits.

Kansas state capital - stripper entitled to unemployment

Kansas state capital

In a labor law case that took eight years to dance its way through the state legal system, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that strippers are employees and are entitled to unemployment insurance.

Siding with the state Department of Labor, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled exotic dancers are employees, not independent contractors, for purposes of unemployment insurance, according to a report from Legal Newsline.

In 2004, after contacting the Kansas Department of Revenue, Club Orleans president John Samples began treating his dancers as independent contractors.

Club Orleans dancers were no longer paid a weekly wage, instead earning only tips.

Dancer Files For Unemployment

A Club Orleans dancer filed for unemployment in 2005. The Kansas Department of Labor investigated and determined that the dancers were employees.

The Kansas DOL argued that minimum rates for particular types of dances and rules regarding customers’ interaction with the dancers could be viewed as employee rules.

Milano’s Inc., Club Orleans’ owner, challenged the determination.

A Kansas DOL hearing officer took testimony from Samples, Club Orleans’ manager, two dancers, the unit auditor and three other department employees, according to Legal Newsline.

The hearing officer concluded that, despite the club’s “creative assertion that a gentlemen’s club is merely a place with good atmosphere, good lighting and good food,” the facts reflected that the atmosphere was “largely derived” from the presence of its semi-nude dancers, according to Legal Newsline.

The DOL officer concluded that the dancers were employees under Kansas law.

He ordered Milano’s to develop a system for reporting dancers’ tips and to report the tips to the labor department to determine the company’s unemployment insurance payments.

Milano’s appealed.

A district court judge agreed with the Kansas DOL’s finding, ruling that tips were wages and the dancers were employees under state law.

Milano’s took its case to the state court of appeals, which agreed with the district judge. The Kansas Supreme Court the agreed to review the case and affirmed the judgments of the DOL hearing officer, the district court and the appeals court.

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