The legal issue over whether strippers have an employment contract with lap dancing clubs could go all the way to the UK Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal is to sit on a full hearing into whether £200,000-a-year stripper Nadine Quashie was technically an employee of Stringfellows club. It means her unfair dismissal claim will be stayed until the Court of Appeal (CoA) listing later this year.
But Bindmans partner Shah Qureshi, instructed for Quashie, said this could be an argument that goes as far as the Supreme Court as both sides are prepared to go “all the way” to clarify the dispute.
He said the case has the potential to create precedent about employment rights – in particular about the nuances of the nature of a contract.
A previous Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) (27 April 2012) found in favour of Quashie, who was represented by Old Square Chambers’ John Hendy QC and Tooks Chambers’ Catherine Rayner, agreeing that when she was ‘engaged’ by the club on each night she worked she effectively had a contract.
The club had argued that as it did not pay the strippers, it was not the employer.
Judge McMullen QC overturned a previous ruling that there was no mutuality of contract between ’self-employed’ Quashie and Stringfellows.
For the club, owned by Peter Stringfellow, Davenport Lyons partner Marie van der Zyl has turned to Matrix Chambers’ Tom Linden QC, having previously instructed new silk Caspar Glyn QC of Cloisters.
Lord Justice Ryan gave Stringfellow permission for a full hearing on the point. The CoA hearing will be listed later this year.
Once the employment issue is resolved, the unfair dismissal claim will either be referred back to the Employment Tribunal (ET) or dismissed completely.