Stringfellow Restaurants Ltd v Quashie: CA 21 Dec 2012

The company appealed against a decision that the claimant, a lap dancer at their premises, had been an employee. She performed for the entertainment of guests at the respondents’ clubs. She paid the respondent a fee for each night worked. Doing so enabled her to earn substantial payments from the guests for whom she danced. She negotiated those payments with the guests. The respondent ended its working relationship with her and she complained of unfair dismissal. At a preliminary hearing, an ET held that there was no contract of employment. The EAT disagreed.
Held: On these facts the employment tribunal had been entitled to find that the claimant was not employed under a contract of employment (either for each engagement or on a continuous basis).
Elias LJ said, after discussing the Cheng Yuen case: ‘The club did not employ the dancer to dance; rather she paid them to be provided with an opportunity to earn money by dancing for the clients. The fact that the appellant also derived profits from selling food and drink to the clients does not alter that fact. That is not to say that Cheng provides a complete analogy; I accept Mr Hendy’s submission that the relationship of the claimant to the club is more integrated than [that of] the caddie with the golf club. It is not simply a licence to work on the premises. But in its essence the tripartite relationship is similar.
The fact that the dancer took the economic risk is also a very powerful pointer against the contract being a contract of employment. Indeed, it is the basis of the economic reality test, described above. It is not necessary to go so far as to accept the submission of Mr Linden that absent an obligation on the employer to pay a wage … the relationship can never as a matter of law constitute a contract of employment. But it would, I think, be an unusual case where a contract of service is found to exist when the worker takes the economic risk and is paid exclusively by third parties. On any view, the Tribunal was entitled to find that the lack of any obligation to pay did preclude the establishment of such a contract here.’
Ward, Elias, Pitchford LJJ
[2012] EWCA Civ 1735, [2013] IRLR 99
England and Wales
Appeal fromQuashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd EAT 26-Apr-2012
Worker, Employee
The Employment Judge erred in her conclusion that the Claimant was not an employee on each night she performed work and in the intervening . .
See AlsoQuashie v Stringfellow Restaurants Ltd EAT 5-Jul-2011
EAT Unfair Dismissal . .
CitedYuen v The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club PC 28-Jul-1997
(Hong Kong) The applicant was dismissed as a golf caddie after nine years. The Club denied that he had ever been an employee. He was issued by the club with a number, a uniform and a locker. Caddying work was allocated to available caddies in strict . .

Cited by:
CitedUber Bv and Others v Aslam and Others CA 19-Dec-2018
Uber drivers are workers
The claimant Uber drivers sought the status of workers, allowing them to claim the associated statutory employment benefits. The company now appealed from a finding that they were workers.
Held: The appeal failed (Underhill LJ dissenting) The . .
DistinguishedUber Bv and Others v Aslam and Others SC 19-Feb-2021
Smartphone App Contractors were as Workers
The court was asked whether the employment tribunal was entitled to find that drivers whose work was arranged through Uber’s smartphone application work for Uber under workers’ contracts and so qualify for the national minimum wage, paid annual . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 February 2021; Ref: scu.467632