A lap dancer working at Stringfellow’s night club was an employee of the club rather than self-employed, the EAT has ruled.
John Hendy QC
represented Ms Quashie in the EAT.
Even though the EAT expressed the view that the case was decided on its own facts - not least because the dancer had not received or signed the standard form contract - t
he case will be seen as establishing an industry norm.
As the decision contradicts the widespread view that lap dancers are self-employed, HM Revenue and Customs are taking a keen interest in the case.
The EAT (HHJ McMullen sitting alone) ruled that the relationship was one of employment:
The authorities showed that the dancer was required to perform work and was to receive pay (albeit that the fines and other charges might, on a bad night, exceed the pay)
despite the many measures taken by the club to construct a relationship of self-employment
because of the degree of control, in particular the disciplinary regime of fines and requirements to attend to dance on rostered nights and to attend (but not to dance) at compulsory weekly unpaid meetings
It made no difference that the pay came by way of “heavenly money” (vouchers that customers bought from the club and used to pay the dancers, and which the dancers then redeemed for cash from the club after deduction of any fines and charges).
Breaks in service and the fact that the dancer could take time off before arranging a further roster did not defeat the existence of a continuing contract of employment.
Stephenson v Delphi Diesel Systems Ltd  ICR 471 and
Cotswold Developments Construction Ltd v Williams  IRLR 181 applied and were not in conflict.
The case will go to the Court of Appeal [no date fixed].
Quashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd  UKEAT 0289_11_2604 (26 April 2012)