In the Nude: Factors Determining the Employment Status of Sex Workers

AuthorAmy Oliver, Annick Masselot, Laura Meriluoto and Sussie Morrish
PositionStudying towards a LLB(Hons)-BA degree at the School of Law, University of Canterbury/Professor of Law at University of Canterbury/Senior Lecturer in economics at University of Canterbury/Associate Professor in marketing at the University of Canterbury
A O , A M, L M
 S M*
is article analyses critically the 2018 Christchurch Employment Relations
Authority’s (the Authority) decision in Hamilton-Redmond and Cliord v
Casino Bar Limited, which found that two strip dancers were independent
contractors as opposed to employees. e article argues that this decision weakens
sex workers’ employment rights. It contends, therefore, that the Authority’s
decision diverges from the protect ive aims of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. In
addition, in relation to employment law more broadly, the article argues that the
Authority’s decision reinforces the growing vulnerability experienced by workers
in precarious employment.
I. I
In 2017, 14 years after the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 legalised sex
work in New Zealand, exotic danc ers Tineill Hamilton-Redmond and Jessica
Cliord failed to appear for their scheduled shifts at the Christchurch adult
entertainment venue Calendar Girls. As a consequence of their absence,
Calendar Girls mana gement removed Ham ilton-Red mond and Cliord from
shift rosters, eectively term inating their employment. As a preliminary step to
raising a personal grieva nce against Calendar Girls, the t wo women appeared
before the Christchurch Employment Relations Authority (the Authority) in
August 2018 to determine their employment status with Calendar Girls.1 In
a decision by member David Appleton, the Authority found that the women
were independent contractors and not employees of Calendar Girls under
s 6(1)(a) of the Employment Relations Act 2000. Consequently, Hamilton-
Redmond and Cliord could not establish a personal gr ievance claim against
Calenda r Girls.
1 Hamilton-Redm ond and Cliord v Casino B ar Limited (Christchurch) [2018] NZERA 1128.
* Amy Oliver is stud ying towards a L LB(Hons)/BA degree at t he School of Law, University
of Canterbury ; Annick Ma sselot is Professor of L aw at University of Ca nterbury and
corresponding a uthor Annick .masselot@c ; L aura Meriluoto is Se nior
Lecturer i n economics at University of Canterbu ry and Sussie Morrish is A ssociate Professor
in marketin g at the University of Canterbur y.
92 Canterbury Law R eview [Vol 24, 2018]
is article seeks to analyse critical ly the Authority’s reasoning in nding
that Hamilton-Redmond and Cliord were independent contractors and
identify potential implications for sex workers’ employment rights and
employment law more broadly. To do this, this article consists of three main
sections. Section II outlines the fact s surrounding Hamilton-Redmond and
Cliord and the Authority’s ndings. Section III discu sses the application
of the common law tests used for determining the “real natu re” of an
employment relationship in the unusual context of the work relationship
between the claima nts and Calendar Girls. Section IV critically a ssesses some
of the potential implications of this decision on the employment rights of sex
workers in connection with the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. It addresses
the disconnect that exists between the aim of the Prostitution Reform
Act 2003 to protect sex workers’ employment rights and the vulnerability
of independent contractors under New Zealand employment law. More
broadly, in relation to employment law, it argues that t he Aut hority ’s decision
reinforces the vulnerabilit y experienced by workers in precarious employment.
e 2018 decision in Hamilton-Redmond and Cliord raises chal lenges for
employment law in New Zealand and its eects deserve further scrutiny.
II. H-R  C: F 
 A’ F
In late 2017, both Tineill Hamilton-Redmond and Jessica Cliord were
working as exotic dancers (also known as strippers or lap dancers) at the
Christchurch adult entertainment venue Calendar Girls. In September 2017,
after threats a nd an attempted burglary of their shared at, the women went
to the police to le a complaint.2 As a result, both da ncers were absent from
one night’s rostered work at Ca lendar Girls.3 Calendar Girls ma nagement
ned Ms Cliord for her absence and later told her that she was “red”.4
Calendar Girls mana gement removed Ms Ham ilton-Redmond from the shif t
roster in November 2017 without informing her of its decision not to oer
further work to her.5 e claimants’ lawyer corresponded with Calendar
Girls in December 2017 regarding the end of the women’s employment,
but was informed that exotic dancers at Ca lendar Girls were independent
contractors and not employees.6 As a consequence, Hamilton-Redmond and
Cliord could not bring a personal grievance claim again st Calendar Girls in
respect of their dismissa l through the Employment Relations Authority.7 In
pursuit of personal grievances against Calendar Girls, Hamilton-Redmond
2 At [5].
3 At [5].
4 At [5].
5 At [6].
6 At [7].
7 At [7].

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