A table dancers’ “code of conduct” has been revealed by a tribunal judge analysing a fight between five London clubs and the UK tax authorities.
Judge David Demack gave details of rules covering lap and table dancing in a written judgment after a hearing at a tax tribunal about a dispute relating to vouchers club customers buy with a credit card if they run out of cash.
HM Revenue & Customs had said transactions involving vouchers were taxable. The judge agreed – and dismissed appeals by Wiltonpark and Secrets clubs.
Judge Demack said the vouchers were known as “Secrets money” and the total amount of VAT at stake was more than £500,000.
And he told how lap or table dancers at Secrets clubs had to “strictly observe” a conduct code and how bosses published “important guidelines”.
The judge said a “Code of Conduct for Table Dancers” contained more than 30 topics, including “dress code”, “conduct while performing” and “dealing with customers”.
One section was headed “Zero Tolerance General Violations” and included “rudeness to any customer”, “fighting” and “prostitution”.
“As a Dancer attending Secrets you will be expected to conduct yourself in a mature manner, at all times. Your sincerity, courtesy, thoughtfulness and friendliness should create a positive atmosphere in which customers can relax, which should encourage them to return again and again,” said the code.
“You are requested to wear long evening dresses and thin high-heeled shoes. Hair, make-up and jewellery should always be of the highest standard. Whilst you are in the public areas of Secrets, you must put your clothing back on immediately after each performance and remain clothed until your next performance begins.”
It added: “It is customary for Dancers to expect to receive a customer’s gratuity, per single track, of £10 for each topless dance and £20 for each fully nude dance. Dancers are requested to dance at the table where customers are seated. Dancers are also requested to promote themselves by performing their stage signature dance in order to make the customer more aware of each Dancer...
“If a customer invites you to the table, for any long period of time, you are advised to make it clear that whilst you are sitting with them, as their guest, it is the usual practice for a customer to offer a gratuity for table accompaniment. The Management (purely as a suggestion) suggests that you should receive £250 per hour or part thereof, for the time that you are seated with a customer at their table. If the customer has agreed to give you a £250 gratuity for table company Secrets suggest that you give the customer value for money by including as many dances as they request.”
The code said dancers should not use language of a “sexually graphic nature” when speaking to customers, must not give customers contact details and “as a general rule” may never arrange to meet customers outside a club.
Judge Demack’s ruling listed five “Secrets Important Guidelines” which included: “Any money ... should only be to tip the dancer for table dancing, stage performances or table company (and for no other reason).”