An Auckland-based stripper and comedian says while some strip clubs take rules and fines too far, most controls serve to help the workplace run smoothly.
A former Calendar Girls employee is taking the strip club to the Employment Relations Authority for an alleged unfair dismissal related to "fines" the club issues for offences including wearing a G-string for too long.
But entertainer Brooke West, who has more than a decade of experience under her belt, said the case wrongly paint strippers as being victims in the industry.
Most of the rules were "pretty common sense", she said, and were in place to help the girls make money.
Strippers at Calendar Girls faced fines of up to $2500 in a swathe of rules they signed up for to dance in a club.
The regulations were revealed by a document used in former stripper Jessica Clifford's case for alleged unfair dismissal, for missing work in September last year.
The document laid out a raft of rules by which the dancers had to abide - and fines imposed if they broke the rules.
These 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".
Brooke West, who had worked in all of Auckland's strip clubs at one time or another during her time in the industry, described such regulations as a "blanket industry standard".
While she admitted some clubs were a little too "trigger happy" when it came to fines and rules, West also said there had to be some give and take to create an efficient club.
"At the end of the day we are all there to make money and most of the rules are pretty common sense and in place to help us do that."
"The no phones rule for example – I can't exactly be on the floor making money if I'm out the back taking selfies."
West said the fines were necessary as many of the dancers had strong personalities and did not respond well when told what to do.
"I'm not sure if you have ever tried to wrangle 20-30 odd strong, independent women at any given time but it can't be an easy feat," she said.
Labour Inspectorate national manager Stu Lumsden said the ministry would be closely watching for the results of Clifford's application.
Lumsden said there was particular interest as to whether she was working as an employee or contractor.
"Employees and contractors have different rights and responsibilities, and employers must accurately characterise what the true nature of their working relationship will be," he said.
A number of legal factors determined which type of employment the strippers came under - including how much control the individual had to decide their own work, whether their work was fundamental to the business and the economic basis of the relationship - whether the employer paid tax and ACC levies.
Former Calendar Girls director Jacqui Le Prou told the Herald club dancers were not "employees" rather contractors who were responsible for paying their own taxes or ACC levies.