Frequently Asked Questions             

Is my place of work required to notify me of my rights as a live entertainer?

My boss tells me that I’m an independent contractor but I’m not so sure.  What’s the difference and why does it matter?

If I’m being misclassified as an independent contractor, what can I do?

If I’ve signed a contract does this mean I’m an independent contractor?

Both my boss and the contract that I signed with my boss say I’m an independent contractor.  BOLI’s poster shows characteristics of each status - independent contractor and employee - and it looks like I might be an employee.  But I don’t want to only make minimum wage while the manager takes all my tips and dance money. What’s the best option?

​I’ve heard that if I’m an independent contractor I can show up and leave whenever I want to, but my manager doesn’t allow that: there are scheduled shifts and I am penalized if I’m late, if I don’t show up, or if I leave early.  What can I do?

​I am an independent contractor and I have questions about how to pay my taxes.  Where may I get help?

I am an independent contractor and the business I work for hasn’t paid me.  What can I do?

My work takes a percentage of my income at the end of the night.  Some days I make a lot and it doesn’t seem like a big deal but other days it means I leave in debt.  Is it legal for my work to charge me money when I didn’t make any?

I like to ask for a 30% tip to offset what I’m required to pay to bar staff, but my place of work has started telling customers that they don’t have to tip us.  That’s probably not illegal but it seems really unfair when they’re taking my money.  Is there anything I can do?

At the end of my shift everyone has their hand out for a tip out of my money, even the people who are paid an hourly wage.  Do I really have to tip everyone?

The owner of the club where I work does not maintain the club.  This results in a dangerous work environment for a dancer like me.  Is there anything the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) can do about hazardous working conditions at my club?

 
 
 
 

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Q.  Is my place of work required to notify me of my rights as a live entertainer?
A. Yes.  Pursuant to ORS 651.205, the operator of a live entertainment facility must display the poster developed by the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which summarizes the rights of workers who perform live entertainment, in a conspicuous manner in the establishment so that it may be read by all persons working there.   The law applies to privately-owned establishments that generate revenue from live entertainment and contain 600 or fewer fixed seats.  The full text of the law may be found here.   A copy of the poster may be found here.
 
If you know of a live entertainment facility that isn’t displaying the poster as required, you may file a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries.  The complaint may be filed here.  You may file a complaint anonymously.

 
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Q.  My boss tells me that I’m an independent contractor but I’m not so sure.  What’s the difference and why does it matter?
A. Generally, an independent contractor is someone who operates a business of his or her own.  True independent contractors are free from the kind of direction and control employers exercise over their employees, and independent contractors do not rely on any specific client in order to supply services.  However, the definition of an “independent contractor” or an “employee” is not always the same under the various regulations which make up state employment law.  A summary of the factors to be considered when evaluating whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee under the state’s wage and hour laws may be found here.
 
Why does it matter if a worker is misclassified as an independent contractor?  It’s important to remember that state law gives certain rights to employees, and workers who are misclassified as independent contractors run the risk of losing out on protections and benefits like unemployment insurance, workers compensation coverage for on-the-job injuries, safety and health requirements in the work place, sick time, minimum wage and overtime pay, and protections against sexual harassment and retaliation.
 
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Q.  If I’m being misclassified as an independent contractor, what can I do?
A. A good place to start is the Oregon Independent Contractors website, which provides useful information about the misclassification of workers.  Through this website, you may file a complaint with several state agencies at once if you believe that your employer is misclassifying you.  You do not need to provide your name or contact information in order to file a complaint.

If you believe you are an employee and your employer is not complying with the state’s wage and hour laws - for example, is failing to pay minimum wage or overtime; is making unlawful deductions from your wages; or is not providing you with earned sick time - you may file a complaint directly with the Wage and Hour Division.  The complaint may be filed here.  Click here for information relating to Civil Rights.
  
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Q.  If I’ve signed a contract does this mean I’m an independent contractor?
A. Not necessarily.  A worker is either an independent contractor or an employee based on the facts of the work relationship.  Even if you’ve signed a contract, or if a business owner calls you an independent contractor, a contract or title doesn’t make you an independent contractor if the facts of the work relationship show that you are really an employee.  More information geared toward employers about the various factors used to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee may be found here.

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Q.  Both my boss and the contract that I signed with my boss say I’m an independent contractor.  BOLI’s poster shows characteristics of each status - independent contractor and employee - and it looks like I might be an employee.  But I don’t want to only make minimum wage while the manager takes all my tips and dance money. What’s the best option?
A. Neither the fact that your boss or the contract you signed calls you an independent contractor means that, under the law, you are considered to be an independent contractor.  Your status depends on the specific facts of your work relationship with the business; consequently, a worker doesn’t really have the option to choose whether to be an independent contractor or employee.

Every employer must pay its employees who are covered by the minimum wage law a rate of pay that is not less than the minimum wage for all hours worked.  An employer is not prohibited from paying an employee at a rate that is more than the minimum wage.

Also, while the state Wage and Hour Division does not regulate tips, the federal Department of Labor (USDOL) generally considers tips to be the sole property of the tipped employee.  You may wish to visit the USDOL’s website for more information.
 
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Q.  I’ve heard that if I’m an independent contractor I can show up and leave whenever I want to, but my manager doesn’t allow that: there are scheduled shifts and I am penalized if I’m late, if I don’t show up, or if I leave early.  What can I do?
A. You may want to review a summary of the criteria established by various laws for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.  The fact that your manager requires you to work a scheduled shift is a factor, but there are other factors too.   An employer isn’t permitted to make a deduction from an employee’s wages for such things as penalties related to attendance.  Employees who believe that their employer is making unlawful deductions from their wages may file a complaint or wage claim with the Wage and Hour Division.
 
 
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Q.  I am an independent contractor and I have questions about how to pay my taxes.  Where may I get help?

A. If you have questions about taxes you may want to contact the federal Internal Revenue Service or the state Department of Revenue.
 
 
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Q.  I am an independent contractor and the business I work for hasn’t paid me.  What can I do?
A. You may want to review a summary of the criteria established by various laws for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.
 
Oregon’s wage and hour laws apply to employees.   The Wage and Hour Division accepts wage claims from employees who haven’t been paid wages that they have earned.  The wage claim form may be found here.

Independent contractors who haven’t been paid for services may either hire an attorney or file a claim in the small claims court in the county where the business is located.
 
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Q.  My work takes a percentage of my income at the end of the night.  Some days I make a lot and it doesn’t seem like a big deal but other days it means I leave in debt.  Is it legal for my work to charge me money when I didn’t make any?
A. The state’s wage and hour law restricts the types of deductions or charges that an employer is permitted to make to an employee’s wages.  On the other hand, it is the terms of the contract between a business and an independent contractor that determines whether the business is entitled to charge an independent contractor and for what reasons. 
 
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Q.  I like to ask for a 30% tip to offset what I’m required to pay to bar staff, but my place of work has started telling customers that they don’t have to tip us.  That’s probably not illegal but it seems really unfair when they’re taking my money.  Is there anything I can do?
A. There aren’t any wage and hour regulations which prohibit a business from requesting its customers not to give a tip.
 
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Q.  At the end of my shift everyone has their hand out for a tip out of my money, even the people who are paid an hourly wage.  Do I really have to tip everyone?
A. Nothing in the state’s wage and hour regulations requires a worker to share his or her tips.  If you are an employee, you may wish to contact the federal Department of Labor (USDOL) to obtain information about acceptable tip pooling arrangements.  The USDOL’s website may be found here
 
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Q.  The owner of the club where I work does not maintain the club.  This results in a dangerous work environment for dancer like me.  Is there anything the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) can do about hazardous working conditions at my club?
A. Anyone who observes dangerous working conditions in a location where there is a likelihood employees will be exposed to the same hazard may call and file a complaint with Oregon OSHA.  OSHA accepts regular complaints, confidential complaints, and anonymous complaints.  If the hazard is such that employees are in imminent danger, OSHA will send someone out to do an on-site visit.  If the danger is not imminent, OSHA will send the employer a letter, giving it a certain number of days to respond.  If the employer does not respond, OSHA will conduct a site visit.  While OSHA has an electronic complaint process, it nevertheless encourages people to call – that way, agency staff can get all the information needed to proceed (sometimes electronic submissions do not include important information). Click here to file a complaint with OSHA. 
 
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PLEASE NOTE:  The Bureau of Labor and Industries is providing this information as a public service.  It is not intended as legal advice and is not an agency order.  If legal advice is needed, please consult an attorney.