The vast majority of the public probably has no idea how gentlemen’s clubs actually operate. Nightclub & Bar Show Speakers David Boehm of Club Consultant Pro 2.0 and Jeff Levy of SCR & NJ Hospitality & Entertainment Association, however, know this topic very well. Just a few decades back, club owners used to hand out paychecks to entertainers since they were employees. Now, however, a battle is raging throughout the adult entertainment side of our industry. The fight is over whether entertainers should be hired as employees or signed on as independent performer entertainers (IPEs).
Lawsuits are becoming more common, with entertainers suing gentlemen’s clubs over independent contractor status. While this may not mean a lot to club guests, the next few years are crucial for club owners. They’re finding that they have to protect themselves in unexpected ways. For instance, during the hiring process, club owners are now having to offer entertainers a choice between two different contracts: one for employees and one for those interested in being IPEs. Of course, with many entertainers hearing about the successful lawsuits against gentlemen’s club operators and the supposed freedom being an IPE offers, most are opting to enter into agreements with clubs as independent contractors.
The attraction is obvious: owners and management cannot force a shift on an IPE, nor can they tell them to go on stage. They can’t even use the words “shift,” “work” or “mandatory” when speaking to independent performer entertainers since they aren’t employees of the club. Also, it has become necessary for lawyers protecting gentlemen’s clubs to come up with an ever-growing, ever-expanding Stage Rental Agreement. Of course, with the clubs’ lawyers working hard to protect their clients, opposing attorneys have smelled the blood in the water have now given to “chasing entertainers rather than ambulances,” as David put it. He would like to see a return to the old way of doing business since club owners and management simply cannot tell entertainers what to do anymore, in their own establishments. The return to hiring employees and offering paychecks is inevitable in David’s eyes.
“Be prepared. It's happening faster than you think,” he said bluntly.