Schenectady County

Tops in Bottoms firm hit with workers’ comp penalty

A Glenville company that offers strippers and exotic dancers for adult parties has run afoul of the

A Glenville company that offers strippers and exotic dancers for adult parties has run afoul of the state over workers’ compensation.

Tops in Bottoms Entertainment, based on Ballston Road in Glenville, was recently fined by the state Workers Compensation Board for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for its employees, including the dancers, during a six-month period from August 2011 to early 2012.

The number of employees at Tops in Bottoms that needed coverage was not available, but the state board requires workers’ compensation coverage for any worker who provides “a function vital to the success of the business,” according to a state spokesperson.

The total penalty for Tops in Bottoms was settled recently at $4,500, according to the spokesperson.

The board originally filed a judgment for $128,000 after the company failed to respond to the board. Also, the state board had alleged there was a much longer period without workers compensation coverage, the spokesperson said.

Once the company did respond, though, it provided documentation that showed the shorter time without coverage, limiting it to August 2011 to February 2012, the spokesperson said.

A representative of Tops in Bottoms did not return calls for comment. On its website the company notes it has been in business for more than 20 years.

Records also indicate the company faced allegations of failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage for a period from late 2009 to early 2010. The resolution of those allegations could not be determined.

In the latest case, the state spokesperson said the board was alerted that the company was not carrying workers compensation insurance through an automated process that shares records between the board and the state Department of Labor. That process indicated the company had employees, but wasn’t carrying workers’s compensation insurance.

Any employee in a for-profit business must be covered by workers compensation insurance, the spokesperson said. Owners, though, may exempt themselves.

Independent contractors may fall outside that coverage. But workers at Tops in Bottoms were employees for workers’ compensation purposes, requiring coverage, the spokesperson said.

In determining whether an employer/employee relationship exists, the board determines whether the workers provides “a function vital to the success of the business” and whether the worker is “under the direction and control” of the employer.

Tops in Bottoms is not unique in being penalized by the state board for failing to have proper workers compensation insurance. In 2012 alone, the state board issued nearly 27,000 individual penalties for not carrying coverage, the spokesperson said.

From those penalties, the state collected more than $19 million in fines.

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