Two former strippers lose complaint over Calendar Girls' 'unfair dismissal'

Two former strippers lose complaint over Calendar Girls' 'unfair dismissal'
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Two former strippers have lost their complaint over what they say was an unfair dismissal from Christchurch's Calendar Girls. 

Tinell Hamilton-Redmond and Jessica Clifford both sought personal grievances for unjustified dismissals from their jobs at Calendar Girls on separate occasions late last year. 

However a decision released by the Employment Relations Authority states the women were not employees but independent contractors so cannot claim personal grievances.

If they are contractors the authority has no jurisdiction to investigate their personal grievances. 

Both women worked at Calendar Girls as strippers. Both say they were not given any contractual documents but were given a "Calendar Girls dancer profit share arrangement" that detailed the clubs procedures. 

The document listed Calendar Girls 'fine system' which include: 

  • $50 - missed stage spot
  • $100 - late showing up
  • $75 - inappropriate dress
  • $500 - intoxication 
  • $250 - no show to work
  • $500 - walk out
  • $50 - hanging around in the changing room for an unacceptable amount of time
  • $200 and 50 percent tax on tips for rudeness to patrons or management 
  • 50 percent tax on all dancers if there are multiple club complaints
  • $100 - no G-string (all dancers must be completely naked for whole of second song and entire duration of tip round)
  • $50 - misuse of cell phone

Both Ms Hamilton-Redmond and Ms Clifford say they never saw such a document. 

The women lived together and failed to show up to a night shift after being involved in an attempted break in of their flat last September.

In November, James Samson who has a financial stake in Calendar Girls, deducted Ms Clifford's pay and ruled she shouldn't return to work as she had been 'fired the previous night,' the authorities ruling states. 

Ms Hamilton-Redmond was taken off the roster, and later resigned due to money she believed she was owed that she hadn't been paid.

The judgement states the fines system, although common in strip clubs in New Zealand, was at odds with an employment relationship.

It also notes the nature of the Calendar Girls business created risks and a lack of security for the women and their fellow co-workers. But that could not be ruled the driver for finding that the applicants are employees.

An employee is defined as anyone employed by an employer to do any work for hire or reward under a contract.

Calendar Girls Strip Club rules:

  • Personal hygiene and makeup should be immaculate at all times.
  • Lingerie should match, clothes should imply sexiness and sensuality.
  • While on stage the dancers are required to wear costumes, two piece outfits or lingerie.
  • The dancers are required to work Friday and Saturday nights at a minimum of four shifts per week. 
  • They have to be at work 20 minutes prior to the commencement of the shift and they are required to work a mixture of afternoon/nights and weekend and public holidays.
  • Lockers are provided but dancers must provide their own padlock and lockers must be emptied and unlocked at the end of each shift.
  • The dancing order is displayed on a whiteboard in the dressing room.
  • After spending time on the stages, the dancers are required to head out to the crowd to collect tips.
  • The dancers must have their top off by the end of the first song and their G-string off by the end of the second song, and tips must be collected in the nude.
  • The dancers must not approach customers for tips whilst they are at the bars.
  • The dancers are required to end their lap dances fully nude.
  • It is prohibited for the dancers to give their phone numbers out to customers and go home with them. 
  • A breach of that rule incurs a fine of $2,500 and a reward of $500 is given to dancers who tell the club of another dancer breaking this rule.
  • Dancers are prohibited from working at any other strip club or agency and are subject to a $2,500 fine for doing so. Again, there is mention of a reward of $500 to any dancer who tells the club about dancers breaking this rule.
  • Drinking is permitted but drunkenness and the use of drugs are not.
  • Dancers are forbidden to discuss their income and are responsible for their own tax.
  • Dancers are forbidden to enter into any form of sexual or romantic relationship with any of the staff.
  • If a dancer is caught stealing they will be "suspended" until the situation can be investigated.
  • Dancers are required to give notice in writing, whether it be for holidays or to end the contract. It must be two weeks prior to the date or as soon as possible beforehand.
  • Dancers must work either Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.
  • The dancers are "under no circumstances" permitted to speak to the public or media about the running of Calendar Girls Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington, or about the respondent company, Alan Samson Limited, or Casino Bar (No. 2) Limited. A breach of that prohibition will be "treated as serious misconduct and legal action will be taken". 
  • This prohibition is stated to be in place during "your course at this establishment" and "once finished".


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