A let-go stripper at Stringfellows nightclub has vowed to fight on after a court ruled that she was self-employed and cannot therefore sue the London venue for unfair dismissal.
In a ruling that overturns the Employment Appeal Tribunal last year, 29-year-old Nadine Quashie heard that she was not an ‘employee’ when she was axed by the Convent Garden club in 2008.
Disagreeing with the EAT ruling that she was a Stringfellows employee, the Court of Appeal said last month that there were not sufficient obligations upon her to create a contract of employment.
The CoA’s Lord Justice Elias said that while the tribunal was correct to find there was a contract in place between the two parties, it made a “plain error” in concluding it to be one of employment.
Undermining MOO, which the EAT put stock in, the court heard how Quashie actually had to pay Stringfellows £65 a night to dance – and ended up unpaid when the club was quiet and there were no customers to tip her.
Reflecting on the disclosure, which indicates she was paying the club to let her strip rather than the other way around, the judge said that “the employer was under no obligation to pay the dancer anything at all.”
Law firm Bindmans, on behalf of Quashie, responded to the judgement with disappointment, saying it was a blow for both their client and the industry as a whole, which will be “unable to bring claims against their ‘employers’ despite working under their control.”
The firm’s Shah Qureshi, who represented Quashie in court, reflected: “Nadine is extremely disappointed… she worked in exchange for payment, there were mutual obligations (MOO) between the parties and Stringfellows exerted a high degree of control over her work.”
Having heard the judgment, the former dancer said: “I am saddened by the judgment but will continue to seek justice and better regulation in the industry.
“I was obliged to attend work and Stringfellows were obliged to pay me. I think it is common sense that I was employed by them.”
Her legal team added that she will now continue her case in the highest court of the land, by appealing to the Supreme Court.