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Why business deals and strip clubs should never mix

Business meetings, boys clubs and why combining business with pleasure is costing companies big bucks.

“Right on time, your client shows up and timidly wanders out onto ‘the floor,’ where his attention is immediately drawn to the semi-nude, the almost completely nude, and the completely nude,” reads a piece in Esquire magazine about what it’s like to host a business meeting at a strip club.

“The girl in the cerulean Jasmine-from-Aladdin garb (who tells you her name is Jasmine)… is on the client’s lap cooing about how she loves American men who eat steak and drink burgundy and then suddenly the client, post-matriculation, is in some other kind of alcove — a ‘private room.'”

Business meetings in strip clubs — it sounds like something out of The Wolf of Wall Street or the ’80s business arena, but the practice of mixing business with pleasure is still very much a part of today’s business landscape. With news of discrimination lawsuits and exclusionary effects, here’s why strip clubs and business deals should never mix.

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Shut out of decision making, bonding and ladder-climbing opportunities

Anyone has a right to visit a strip club and scrunch bills into a stripper’s crotchless panties if they so desire. But when a trip to a strip club is tied into a work meeting or a networking opportunity, and a woman, or man, feels uncomfortable attending or is excluded from the meeting entirely, then they are potentially missing out on an opportunity to bond and climb the corporate ladder. “It’s not a question of morality. It’s the disparity in opportunity for those who are excluded,” says attorney Wayne Outten, who represented Allison Schieffelin in a discrimination case. Schieffelin learned two clients were invited by male colleagues to attend a weekend in Las Vegas, which was approved by their manager. When she questioned why she wasn’t asked to attend, she was told it was “because the men would be uncomfortable participating in sexually oriented entertainment with a woman colleague present, especially one who knew their wives,” stated the lawsuit.

Discrimination lawsuits

If business deals in strip clubs sound unlikely, news of discrimination lawsuits paint a different picture. And it’s the companies that are coughing up the big bucks in compensation. “There are two levels of discrimination: the frat house environment in the office and the deeply embedded practices that are just starting to be uncovered, like the distribution of accounts, business leads and promotions,” says Hydie Sumner, a financial consultant who was awarded $2.2 million in 2004 after suing for gender discrimination. “When ‘business activities’ involve the strip club, golf course or hunting ranches… discrimination is often perpetuated as those in power support and advance those with like minds and tastes.”

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It harbours erotic fantasies in a business setting

Sexual behaviour isn’t tolerated in the workplace, so when the work setting extends out of the conventional business setting, shouldn’t the same rules apply? Sexual harassment lawyer, Michael Harmer, claims employers are paying between $1 million and $3.5 million to settle sexual harassment cases as a result of sexualised entertainment in a business setting. “Where alcohol and the degradation of women is used as entertainment, you can get an overstepping of the mark by either other employees or clients,” said Harmer, whose firm, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, has assisted people suing their employers in legal, accounting, finance and property industries.

Do you think business meetings and strip clubs mix? Have you experienced this type of discrimination? Let us know in the comment section below.

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