Employee or Independent Contractor?

Strippers Need Not Reveal All in Independent Contractor Misclassification Suit

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From Bloomberg BNA — Erik S. Brown writes about cases in which exotic dancers are challenging their classification as independent contractors.  If successful, the dancers would be entitled to employee benefits — including minimum wage, overtime, affordable healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and workers compensation benefits.  He discusses one case in which the dancers sought to pursue their claims anonymously.  He writes:

“The district court found that the claimants had identified an “adequate threat of personal embarrassment and social stigmatization” that “militates for allowing them to proceed under Jane Roe synonyms.” It also noted that the case fell into the “sensitive and highly personal” area of human sexuality, in which courts have often allowed parties to use pseudonyms, and that the company did not deny that possible physical and career harm are among the reasons it is customary for exotic dancers to use stage names.

Exotic dancers’ need for anonymity, the court held, outweighed any prejudice the company may face in asserting a res-judicata defense to later-filed actions by the same individuals, since the claimants had earlier provided their real names to the company under the confidentiality terms of a protective order. Discovery concerns were or could be addressed, the court stated, since the dancers did not object to identifying other clubs at which they have worked and the court could use its power to shape discovery to avoid any impediments anonymity may cause.

The court likewise found that the dancers’ need for anonymity outweighed the public’s interest in knowing their identities, since there was nothing about their identities that made it critical to the working of justice to reveal them, the important facts of the claimants’ employment, the company’s challenged conduct, its defenses, and the applicable law would be open to the public, and the use of pseudonyms served the public interest by allowing the suit to go forward without fear of employer reprisals….”

Read the full story at Strippers Need Not Reveal All in Independent Contractor Misclassification Suit

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