Tribunal decisions often given fascinating insights into different workplaces and industries, as well as points of law, such is the case of the latest EAT decision which finds that a lap dancer in Stringfellows was, in fact, an employee - not a self employed contractor. The Claimant, 29 year-old Nadine Quashie, worked on a rota, was paid using pre-paid "Heavenly Money" vouchers by clients and worked on a basis that was understood in the industry to be self employed. Whilst all cases turn on their own facts, the challenge to the industry norm will not just impact this industry, but others where the "self employed" may actually be employees.
The dancer in question had previously raised a claim of unfair dismissal after she was sacked from the club on drug allegations and unsuccessfully attempted to sue for unfair dismissal, due to being refused permission to bring a case by a panel at Central London Employment Tribunal because of her self-employed status. However in a landmark legal battle, His Honour Judge McMullen overturned the ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, paving the way for Miss Quashie's unfair dismissal claim, which will now be referred back to the Employment Tribunal (ET).
The judgment stated: "On each night she attended the claimant was obliged to work as directed by the management.
"If she didn’t provide the free dances or other duties, she could be fined. I infer from the findings that if the claimant were directed to a customer, she could not refuse.
"It seems to me that mere attendance on the night is pursuant to a requirement that she work; that is, that she turn up and stay throughout the night shift on pain of fine or deduction."
This ruling is set to benefit thousands of people in a similar position who have until now been unable to sue, even where they work long, regular hours under their employer's control. Miss Quashie will now seek up to £63,000 in compensation for alleged unfair dismissal when her case goes back to the original tribunal.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.