Lap dancer loses unfair dismissal case against Stringfellows
Published 21/12/2012 | 20:00
A LAP dancer who wants to make an unfair dismissal claim lost a legal fight today with a firm that runs "gentlemen's clubs".
The Court of Appeal was asked to decide whether Nadine Quashie had been an employee or self-employed when she worked at the Stringfellows and Angels clubs in London.
Three appeal judges - Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice Pitchford - ruled that she had not been an employee and therefore could not make an unfair dismissal claim at an employment tribunal.
Ms Quashie, who is in her early 30s and lives in London, argued that she was employed and could therefore make a claim for unfair dismissal after being sacked for gross misconduct.
Owner Stringfellows argued that she was self-employed and could not make a claim.
Solicitors had said employment lawyers and strippers across England and Wales would be monitoring Ms Quashie's battle with Stringfellows - and church organists could also be interested.
Employment law specialist David von Hagen had said a ruling in favour of Ms Quashie could have meant that lap dancers working in clubs across the country would be eligible for full employment rights.
And he said church organists had found themselves embroiled in the employment law debate.
"Strippers and church organists do not generally have a great deal in common, but this case brings the two together because exactly the same legal principles are at stake," Mr von Hagen, a partner at law firm Winckworth Sherwood, had said.
"There have been a number of recent cases where church organists have brought similar actions, claiming unfair dismissal."
Lawyer Geoffrey Mead, a partner at law firm Eversheds, added today: "In this particular case the fact that Ms Quashie took the financial risk was a very clear pointer against the contract being a contract of employment.
"Identifying employment status is not always straightforward ... Organisations relying on flexible working through use of self-employed individuals or workers do need to be careful to ensure that any contractual terms entered into reflect the reality of the working relationship."