Strippers at Calendar Girls face fines of up to $2500 in a swathe of rules they sign up for to dance in a club which, on some nights, could see them walk away without a dollar, a former employee has revealed.
Jessica Clifford, 22, is taking the strip club to the Employment Relations Authority for an alleged unfair dismissal for missing work in September last year, Stuff reported.
A document included in her case reveals how the club can issue fines to dancers for offences including wearing a G-string for too long while performing and "hanging around in changing rooms".
It also unveiled the various fines the dancers were subject to, which included a $100 fine for lateness, $75 fine for intoxication, $250 fine for not showing up for work, a $200 fine and a 50 per cent tax on tips for "rudeness to patrons or management", a $100 fine for wearing a G-string – "All dancers must be completely naked for whole of second song and entire duration of tip round" – and a $50 fine for "hanging around in changing rooms for [an] unacceptable amount of time", among others.
The fines can range from $50 up to $2500 - for dancing for a competitor or meeting a client outside work, the document shows.
Former Calendar Girls director Jacqui Le Prou said it didn't appear as though Clifford had a proper understanding of the industry.
Clifford alleged the girls were given a $500 incentive to dob in any of their colleagues. She told Stuff she was sacked by Facebook message and that she was underpaid for dances and tips.
Calendar Girls management declined to comment other than to say the claims were strongly denied and "wildly out of context".
Strip club 'fines'
A document shows a comment by management reminding the dancers they were "actresses" while at work.
"You must remember that while you are in the club you are an actress, you have a different name, create a character and become that character; and stick to it," the document said.
"The customer doesn't want to know your dramas so don't bore them of it. You are there to listen to their stories."
Dancers were asked not to share their earnings and to be considerate to each other. If they saw another dancer sitting with a client they were told not to "jump straight in there if she goes on stage" – a practice known as poaching.
They were allowed to have a drink on the job but were urged to "keep it to a low level".
There were panic buttons in the penthouse rooms if the dancer ever felt vulnerable.
The girls had to work Friday and Saturday nights unless they worked a five-day week.
The document reminds dancers not to use champagne as a selling tool and said management would check the rooms more frequently for "intox" [sic] and to make sure "everything's okay".
Former Calendar Girls director and now dancer advocate Jacqui Le Prou said dancers needed a monetary deterrent to keep to the rules.
"Some of the girls are so hard to control ... the girls need to understand that this is still a business. They need to be held accountable.
"I'm not saying that I know [what's happened] because I don't know. Calendar Girls has always been respectable and looks after its girls and unless you're being [disrespectful] nobody ever comes down on you."
Le Prou said club dancers were not "employees" rather contractors who were responsible for paying their own taxes or ACC levies.
She also wasn't impressed Clifford wanted to be an ambassador for other girls.
"She's 22 years old. If she was an ambassador to other strippers she would understand the industry."
She said every club rightly had its own rules and regulations.
"Girls should know what is expected of them. They need to be professional, yes they are a different person when they come to work and it's not appropriate to talk about their dramas or personal problems because a lot of the time the client is coming there because of their personal problems and you are a sounding board for that.
"They're coming for a fantasy."
Le Prou said she wasn't picking sides but said it appeared Clifford needed to learn more about the industry and how it was run.
Calendar Girls opened in Auckland seven years ago after the earthquake in Christchurch where it was first set up. It also operates in Wellington.