Washington Enacts Groundbreaking ‘Strippers’ Bill of Rights’ for Adult Dancers’ Protections

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In a landmark move for labor rights, Washington state has introduced the nation’s most extensive protections for adult dancers with the signing of the “Strippers’ Bill of Rights” into law by Governor Jay Inslee. This pioneering legislation marks a significant step forward in safeguarding the working conditions of individuals in the adult entertainment industry, positioning Washington as a leader in employee rights for this sector.

The legislation comes as a response to the pressing need for enhanced safety measures and rights for strippers, who have long been marginalized in discussions around labor protections. Governor Inslee, during the signing ceremony, emphasized the simplicity behind the bill’s motive: ensuring the safety and well-being of working individuals, irrespective of their profession. “These are working folks — and working people deserve safety in the environment in which they work,” Inslee stated, underscoring the fundamental principle driving the legislation.

Key features of the new law include mandatory training for employees on preventing sexual harassment, identifying and reporting human trafficking, de-escalating conflicts, and providing first aid. Furthermore, the law mandates the presence of security personnel in establishments, the installation of keypad codes for dressing rooms, and the provision of panic buttons in private areas, significantly enhancing the safety of dancers.

Senator Rebecca Saldaña, a key proponent of the bill, articulated the necessity of treating strippers with the same dignity and respect afforded to any other worker. “Strippers are workers, and they should be given the same rights and protections as any other labor force,” Saldaña remarked, highlighting the bill’s aim to shield dancers from exploitation, trafficking, and abuse.

The legislation also addresses financial exploitation, capping the fees that club owners can charge dancers at $150 or 30% of their earnings per shift, and banning late fees and other charges on unpaid balances. This move aims to alleviate some of the financial pressures faced by dancers, who typically work as independent contractors and are subject to various fees by clubs.

The enactment of the “Strippers’ Bill of Rights” was spearheaded by Strippers Are Workers, a dancer-led advocacy group that has been pushing for better regulations and the ability for clubs to sell alcohol since 2018. Their efforts highlight the growing momentum for recognizing and addressing the rights of workers in adult entertainment across the nation.

Washington’s legislation sets a precedent that contrasts sharply with the varying degrees of protections for adult entertainers across the United States. For instance, Illinois implemented a requirement in 2019 for adult entertainment establishments to have a written sexual harassment policy. Meanwhile, other states like Florida are considering legislation focused on age restrictions for workers in the industry.

The move by Washington state to recognize and protect the rights of strippers as legitimate workers is a critical step in confronting the stigma surrounding the adult entertainment industry. It acknowledges the humanity and dignity of those working within it, paving the way for more inclusive and protective labor laws nationwide. This historic legislation not only provides immediate protections for strippers but also sets a benchmark for labor rights in industries that have been traditionally overlooked or marginalized.

Next News Network Team

Next News Network Team

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