Why church staff are keeping an eye on lap dancer ruling


A lap dancer who wants to make an unfair dismissal claim is waiting to hear whether she has won a legal fight with a firm that runs “gentlemen's clubs”.

Solicitors say employment lawyers and strippers across England and Wales will be monitoring 30-year-old Nadine Quashie's battle with Stringfellow Restaurants.

They say church organists could also be interested.

The Court of Appeal was today asked to decide whether Ms Quashie was an employee or was 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 - reserved their decision after a hearing in London.

Ms Quashie, who lives in London, says she was employed and can therefore make a claim for unfair dismissal after being sacked for gross misconduct.

Stringfellows says she was self-employed and cannot make a claim.

Employment law specialist David von Hagen said a ruling in favour of Ms Quashie could mean 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," said Mr von Hagen, a partner at law firm Winckworth Sherwood.

"There have been a number of recent cases where church organists have brought similar actions, claiming unfair dismissal. There is a clear trend in that tribunals have tended to agree with the arguments of church organists, finding them to be employees.

"If the Court of Appeal finds in favour of Nadine Quashie, individuals in similar jobs working in clubs up and down the country could be eligible for full employment rights."

A spokesman for Winckworth Sherwood said: "The outcome of this Court of Appeal case will be watched closely by employment lawyers and strippers up and down the country."

He went on: "Church organists might also be interested - although decisions have already tended to go in their favour."

Ms Quashie's case has already been argued before tribunals.

An employment tribunal decided she was not an employee.

She challenged that ruling and an employment appeal tribunal decided she was an employee.

Stringfellow Restaurants challenged the employment appeal tribunal ruling in the Court of Appeal.