Exotic Dancer Laws Under California AB-5 Laws – Exotic Dancer Lawyer

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Her long legs wrap around the chrome-colored pole upside down as she looks down towards the floor six feet from her face. The beats and bass from the strip club’s speakers bump Marshmello’s “Everyday”…I work hard every motherfuckin’ day-ay-ay-ay. But today is my day, and it’s my day.” She loosened her legs from the pole for a descend head first, but the fast, free-fall caused her to land on her face. She later learns that she broke her jaw and fractured her cheek bone but doesn’t have health insurance or worker’s compensation insurance to pay for medical bills. Adult entertainment lawyers are excited about California’s AB-5 to protect workers. AB5 is a new employment law that expands exotic dancer laws in California that seek to clarify when workers can be classified as independent contractors vs. employees.

Note: click here for exotic dancer law and how to get a stripping license.

Under the new AB5 law, the “ABC” test will expand exotic dancer laws in California and be applied to classify a stripper as an independent contractor or employee. Apply AB-5 to California exotic dancers, a strip club must prove that their independent contractor strippers are:

  • Outside of the control and direction of the company
  • Their work is not central to the company’s business
  • They have an independent business related to the work they are performing for the company

An adult entertainer must meet all of those three requirements to keep their classification as an independent contractor. Under this test, adult entertainer will no longer be classified as independent contractors. Because strip clubs’ main business is providing adult entertainment and dancing strippers, a stripper is central to the company’s business. Adult entertainers and strippers should schedule a free consultation with an adult entertainment lawyer to determine if there is a lawsuit claim.

What Are Strippers and Exotic Dancers’ Rights Under California’s AB5 Law?

Strippers being classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor gives adult entertainers a lot of more legal rights. Strippers will be protected from sexual misconduct, racism, or discrimination of any kind, as well as retaliation from employers. If you have experienced any of the above behaviors, you can speak to exotic dancer lawyer about filing a lawsuit or class action.

An exotic dancer who has experienced unfair pay or retaliation from the strip club, speak to a adult entertainment attorney lawyer about your rights. Call Nakase Law Firm San Diego exotic dancer lawyer to regain your pay and dignity. We have year of experience in filing claims against unfair business practices.

What Does AB5 Mean for California Strippers And Strip Clubs?

Adult entertainment lawyers and strippers’ lawyer are saying that AB5 expands exotic laws and could lead to improved life and benefits for adult entertainment workers. The adult entertainers will be reclassified as employees.

California’s AB-5 bill was introduced by Lorena Gonzalez, Assembly Member of San Diego, California. Exotic dancer lawyers have heard strip clubs argue that, under California AB-5, they have seen immediate financial losses to their business. Strip clubs have to pay strippers and dancers benefits as well as taxes. A few strip clubs are unfairly passing those costs onto the strippers and dancers with new policies such as:

  • Higher house fees
  • First few dances free
  • The house takes a higher percentage of tips
  • Reducing hours of strippers classified as employees

Strip clubs are doing this to make strippers, adult entertainers, and dancers status look worse than an independent contractor. The idea is that their exotic dancers will want to stay as independent contractors and won’t fight to become employees. These are unfair and illegal practices, though, as they can be seen as retaliatory policies. If dancers and strippers are employees, they can unionize to argue for better policies at practices in strip clubs.

As an employee, if you believe a policy has been implemented in retaliation, you can seek legal counsel. The attorneys at Nakase Law Firm can discuss your rights under exotic dancer laws under AB-5 and if you are able to file a exotic dancer class action lawsuit.

Do Strippers Think California AB5 Is A Positive Change?

Soldiers of Pole is a group of exotic dancers in Los Angeles who have been trying to unionize California strippers. Strippers and exotic dancer lawyers are excited about California AB5 and the ability for strippers to collectively bargain to improve their working conditions.

Unfortunately, some strip club owners have reacted negatively to the new law and forced their dancers and strippers to sign new contracts under duress. In some cases, they have increased the amount they charge their strippers in house fees. This makes strippers see the reclassification as a negative thing rather than a positive one. The strippers see their earning ability reduced rather than the benefits and stability they will receive.

Adult entertainment is not the only industry where companies are reacting negatively to AB5. In the media, freelance editors and writers are being laid off, with companies blaming the law for its cuts. While there have been some strong advocates in favor of the law, there have been just as many voices speaking out against the law, including sex workers. A lot of strippers protesting the law cite their right to choose their employment status, and the conditions of when and how they perform. While AB5 gives the strip club a lot more responsibility for the strippers, it also gives them a lot more control over the strippers.

Will Topless Dancers, Strippers, and Exotic Dancers Be Classified As Independent Contractors Or Employees?

Strip clubs or gentlemen’s clubs must follow the same laws as any other company. Many gentlemen’s clubs will try and categorize their strippers as independent contractors. Independent contracts are not protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines for minimum wage, employee benefits, working conditions, and paid leave.

AB5 states that if the worker does not meet all three of the below requirements, they are employees rather than independent contractors.

  • Outside of the control and direction of the company
  • Their work is not central to the company’s business
  • They have an independent business related to the work they are performing for the company

As exotic dancers are the primary focus of their business, strippers are classified as employees under AB5. No matter the flexibility of the contract, strip clubs exercise a lot of control over their adult entertainers as employees. The gentlemen’s club will have input into the strippers’ appearance, costumes, performance themes, stage rotation, showtimes, and length of shifts. Therefore, all strippers, nude, topless, and exotic dancers are required under the AB5 law to be classified as employees. Any gentlemen’s club that do not classify their dancers and strippers correctly are leaving themselves open to legal action.

Why Will Strippers Benefit from Being Classified As Employees?

While a stripper categorized as an independent contractor has more flexibility and control over their work and hours, an adult entertainer categorized as an employee receive more legal protection under California AB-5. Here are some of the reasons why being an employee will benefit an adult entertainer:

Job security for Exotic Dancers

Adult entertainers categorized as employees have more job security than independent contractors. There are more laws surrounding the termination of an employment contract. As an employee, a strip club will not be able to treat you as replaceable. If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed as an employee, you have the opportunity to file for discrimination or retaliation by hiring an exotic danger lawyer.

Sexual Harassment and Equal Opportunity Policy for Exotic Dancers

As an employee, stripper have legal recourse when discriminated or retaliated against in any other way. This means if you believe you receive less shifts or less pay than a colleague due to your race, appearance, gender, sexuality, or disability, then you can file a claim. As an employee, your union will be able to enact a sexual harassment policy for the industry. In an industry like stripping, this is desperately needed and will make strip clubs a much safer workplace. An adult entertainer deserves to be treated fairly, so contact a California stripper lawyer to help you fight back with a class action against the strip club.

Paid leave for Exotic Dancers

When an exotic danger is classified as an employee, you will receive paid leave so you can take time off for sickness or holidays. You will no longer have to choose between your health and making a living. Our adult entertainment lawyer will give you a free consultation about paid leave.

Worker’s compensation for Adult Entertainers

If exotic dancers are injured on the job, as an employee, the strip club must pay worker’s compensation. This includes payments for temporary or permanent disability, and payments if you can no longer work. Worker’s compensation gives adult entertainers peace of mind that they will have some income while they are recovering from their injuries.

Regulated hours and breaks for Strippers

In California there is a limit on the number of hours you can work without a break. If adult entertainers are unable to take a break, or asked to work through a break, then the strip club must pay you for your missed break. If you’re not paid for missed breaks and missed lunch contact our exotic danger lawyer to help you get the money owed to you! 

Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay for Exotic Dancers

As an employee, your earnings for the hours you work cannot be any lower than minimum wage. In California, this is $12 an hour. 


Under AB-5 an exotic danger may have the right to unionize and have a collective voice. A union will hold workplaces accountable and demand better working conditions for their employees. In a union, the majority of members have to agree on a vote before action is taken.

The AB5 law was implemented to right the wrongs that strip clubs have caused by misclassifying adult entertainers job. It will give exotic dancers legal rights and protections that make your workplace a much safer and enjoyable place to be. The strip clubs who now have to pay extra taxes and implement new policies want you to believe that this new law is threatening your way of life. Gentlemen’s club create new employment contracts where you have to pay more to the strip club to make it look unattractive. By embracing employee status, you have more legal rights and the ability to collectively bargain for better working conditions. By being classified as an employee, you are one step closer to ending the exploitation that is rampant in the adult industry. A California stripper lawyer will help you learn more about your rights under California AB-5 law.


How Has AB5 Been Received in California

The AB5 law is a topic of hot debate. The law seeks to reclassify gig economy workers as employees and give them the same rights as employees – including strippers and adult entertainers. In all affected industries, there has been a backlash against the law both from workers and employers. The media’s focus has been on ride-sharing drivers for companies such as Lyft and Uber. However, AB5 is causing issues in many industries, such as the tech industry and the adult industry – including strippers, adult entertainment, and porn.

The California AB-5 laws was meant to protect the rights of gig economy workers – which expands exotic dancer laws on wages and workplace safety. California’s AB-5 requires employers to provide minimum wage, overtime pay, the right to health care, and the ability to join unions; AB-5 may also protect strippers and adult entertainers. In the past, strip clubs and adult entertainment clubs had been misclassifying their strippers as independent contractors to avoid basic labor rights. Please contact our exotic danger lawyer to learn more about how California AB-5 laws protect exotic dancers.

When a stripper or adult entertainer is classified as an employee, the strip club has to pay payroll tax, social security, worker’s compensation insurance, FICA, and Medicare tax. The strip club also must provide paid leave, correct meal breaks, and health care. An exotic dancer attorney will protect strippers as a class to obtain fair wage for the class.

How Have Exotic Dancer Laws Changed Since AB5 Was Implemented In California?

More strippers are becoming aware of their rights under California AB-5 law now that they should be classified as employees. Soldiers of Pole have lead protests and reached out to dancers at many of the clubs. Soldiers of Pole are finding that many people are simply unaware of the struggles of exotic dancers. Many curious patrons and security guards have asked about their protests.

The change to an employee rather than an independent contractor means that exotic dancers are now protected under discrimination, worker compensation, minimum wage, and sexual misconduct laws. Unfortunately, sexual misconduct is common in strip clubs and not taken seriously by club owners. Many exotic dancers have been fired when they have plucked up the courage to report the incident, seen as liabilities to the business. You should always contact lawyers for exotic dangers in California to fight back.

Some strip clubs have even gone so far as to add “Release of Claims Contract” clauses in their new contracts with dancers. Once signed, the stripper waives their right to sue the club for any past claims of wage theft. As an incentive for signing these legally suspect contracts, the exotic dancers are offered cash. Many exotic dancers have spoken to the press about clubs’ unfair practices following AB5, but many have declined to give names or go on record, fearing retaliation or loss of their job. If you want a free consultation o the stripper contract, please search for stripper attorneys near me to help you understand the strip club contract.

Many strippers are reporting that clubs are implementing new policies such as the strippers do their first couple of dances free, or tripling house fees. This is a tactic to pass the burden of payroll taxes, and federal or state taxes onto the dancers. Some stripper lawyer sees more strippers class action coming to protect the strippers from unlawful treatment.  Other clubs have slashed wages for strippers classed as employees to retaliate for prior lawsuits and make the independent contractor status seem like a better option. In some cases, stripp court order is necessary to compel strip clubs to remove the option of an independent contractor for their dancers.

The Strip Club Where I Work Still Classifies Us All as Independent Contractors. What Should I Do?

Under California AB5 law, you should have received a notice from the strip club about AB5 and what the changes would be. If your strip club is keeping you as independent contractors, then the strip club is acting illegally. There are a number of groups in California protesting the strip clubs that have not made the change. You can also seek legal advice from a stripper lawyer about exotic danger laws in California. Nakase Law Firm has filed many employee’s misclassification lawsuits against California companies. We will discuss your rights under California AB-5, exotic dancer laws in California, and the best course of action for your case. The attorneys at Nakase Law will also be able to advise you on exotic danger laws and what to do if the strip club retaliates in any way.

 Strippers Filed Lawsuits Against Strip Clubs for Misclassification As An Independent Contractor?

There have been a number of class-action lawsuits by stripper lawyers where strippers have sued strip clubs for misclassifying their exotic dancers and strippers as independent contractors.

  • In 2016 Déjà Vu settled for $6.5 million after a class-action lawsuit accused them of intentionally misclassifying over 28,000 strippers as independent contractors.
  • In the fall of 2018 Déjà Vu was the focus of another class-action lawsuit for the miss-classification of workers. The class involved 5,800 employees and 25 strip clubs in California. This settlement was for $1.5 million, and Déjà Vu was required to reclassify all the members to employees.

These are the two most public lawsuits due to the size of the Déjà Vu strip club chain. Due to the reluctance of strip clubs to convert their staff to employees, there are likely to be a number more strippers’ class-action lawsuits. A lot of strippers are hesitant to come forward or stand up for their rights. Many adult entertainers are afraid of retaliation from their employers or dismissal.

Please contact exotic dancer lawyers for a free consultation to learn more about exotic dancer laws under California AB-5.

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