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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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What licenses would a person need to own an online exotic dancer

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What licenses would a person need to own an online exotic dancer agency in Los Angeles? I have a LLC, a tax ID, and a business licence. Would I need a sexually oriented business licences or any other licences? Also if you could explain the difference between the employees being "employees" and "independent contractors" that would be very helpful.

Sincere thanks!
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Los Angeles doesn't require any sexually oriented business license that is separate from a regular business license.

While there is a state law being proposed that would institute a $10 charge per customer, that only applies to sexually oriented businesses that serve alcohol on their premises.

Since I take it that you would be hiring out exotic dancers for different occasions that would not apply to you.

The distinction between employees and independent contractors is primarily based on who controls how and when the work is performed. If the employer controls how and when the work is performed, then the worker would be considered an employee. If the worker chooses how and when the work is performed, then s/he would be considered an independent contractor.

'In applying the economic realities test, the most significant factor to be considered is whether the person to whom service is rendered (the employer or principal) has control or the right to control the worker both as to the work done and the manner and means in which it is performed. Additional factors that may be considered depending on the issue involved are:

1. Whether the person performing services is engaged in an occupation or business distinct from that of the principal;
2. Whether or not the work is a part of the regular business of the principal or alleged employer;
3. Whether the principal or the worker supplies the instrumentalities, tools, and the place for the person doing the work;
4. The alleged employee’s investment in the equipment or materials required by his or her task or his or her employment of helpers;
5. Whether the service rendered requires a special skill;
6. The kind of occupation, with reference to whether, in the locality, the work is usually done under the direction of the principal or by a specialist without supervision;
7. The alleged employee’s opportunity for profit or loss depending on his or her managerial skill;
8. The length of time for which the services are to be performed;
9. The degree of permanence of the working relationship;
10. The method of payment, whether by time or by the job; and
11. Whether or not the parties believe they are creating an employer-employee relationship may have some bearing on the question, but is not determinative since this is a question of law based on objective tests.'

Even where there is an absence of control over work details, an employer-employee relationship will be found if (1) the principal retains pervasive control over the operation as a whole, (2) the worker’s duties are an integral part of the operation, and (3) the nature of the work makes detailed control unnecessary. (Yellow Cab Cooperative v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board (1991) 226 Cal.App.3d 1288)

For more information see here:

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That is great information, thanks! Can/should I pay my independent contractors with a conventional payroll that I have set up through my bank business accounts? Also, it is correct to assume that I would not how to file employee registration forms for independent contractors? Lastly, would it be advisable to get some sort of liability insurance?


I know that is a lot to ask, but I will rate you as high as possible, I also have a premium membership, so that should mean unlimited questions. Thanks!



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One last thing and I will tip you nice if I have the opportunity. From what I understand, in CA, if you procure work for any one in the entertainment/talent industry you need to be a licensed talent agency, which the licence is pretty difficult to get. However, you can be a manager, but not procure work/employment for your associates. How does this work in the online exotic dancer side of things.


Sincere thanks

Hello James,

1. Yes, you can pay them through your bank business accounts or otherwise.

2. You don't need to have your employees fill out registration forms, but you do need them to fill out W-9 forms. (To help ensure there are no misclasification issues you may want to have the exotic dancers make the final arrangements, time and place, themselves. That is, you can quote the price and availability, but have the exotic dancer make the final arrangements directly with the customer. As that would mean they were control over when and where the work would be performed. Of course, if they use their own outfits and music that would be helpful toward independent contractor classification as well).

Although exotic dancers in this situation would likely be considered to be correctly classified as independent contractors, the penalties for misclassification are harsh, so you want to take all safeguards you can.

3) Liability insurance for your workers would not be necessary, since they would be assuming the risk and you don't have to have workers' compensation insurance on them. The only way you would be liable for an independent contractor injury is if you were somehow found negligent in causing it. However, if the dancer were to injure themselves at a customer's location, the customer would be liable not you (unless you somehow knew the danger ahead of time).

I hope the above additional information is helpful.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Wow, thanks! Great and thorough information! Is there a way I can contact you specifically again in the future if need be?


Again thanks, XXXXX XXXXX of great assistance!

Hello James,

Honestly, I don't think exotic dancers fall under the definition of artists in the California Labor Code, which would mean that it is not necessary to apply and receive a talent agency license.

Unfortunately, managers are included, and your purpose would be to connect exotic dancers to customers, so the only argument (which I think is a good one) is that exotic dancers are not included in the definition of 'artists' in the code, especially since there is a focus on 'legitimate' productions, and only a mention of models, not dancers.

Still, the only sure way to find out would be to contact the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which you can do here:

Person" means any individual, company, society, firm, partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, manager, or their agents or employees. (Labor Code section 1700) "Talent agency" means a person or corporation who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist or artists, except that the activities of procuring, offering, or promising to procure recording contracts for an artist or artists shall not of itself subject a person or corporation to regulation and licensing under this chapter. Talent agencies may, in addition, counsel or direct artists in the development of their professional careers. (Labor Code section 1700.4(a)) "Artists" means actors and actresses rendering services on the legitimate stage and in the production of motion pictures, radio artists, musical artists, musical organizations, directors of legitimate stage, motion picture and radio productions, musical directors, writers, cinematographers, composers, lyricists, arrangers, models, and other artists and persons rendering professional services in motion picture, theatrical, radio, television and other entertainment enterprises.

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