Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

This case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal concerns how the employment status of workers (in this case a lapdancer) are defined – and whether they are therefore entitled to exercise rights that only employees have (such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed under s.94 Employment Rights Act 1996). Further, Quashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd covers the circumstances when a contract of employment can be stated to be illegal.

The facts in Quashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd

Ms Quashie (“the Claimant”) was employed as a lapdancer by the well-known Peter Stringfellow. She commenced employment with Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd (“the Respondent”) in June 2007. She provided lapdancing services for the Respondent until 12 December 2008 when she was dismissed by the Respondent for misconduct for allegedly taking or dealing drugs. The Claimant submitted an Employment Tribunal claim within the relevant time periods for unfair dismissal (among other claims) and a Pre Hearing Review was held in November 2010. At the Pre Hearing Review the Employment Judge deliberated on two issues: that of whether the Claimant was an employee and secondly whether the Claimant’s contract with the Respondent was illegal. The Employment Judge held that the Claimant was not an employee and dismissed the claim for unfair dismissal (“the employment status decision”). She further held that there was insufficient evidence to determine on the balance of probabilities whether the Claimant’s contract with the Respondent was illegal (“the illegality decision”).

The Claimant appealed the employment status decision and the Respondent appealed the illegality decision.

The law relating to the employment status of workers

There are two types of contract of employment – a contract of service and a contract for service. Where there is a contract of service the contracting party is generally held to be an employee. If there is no written contract of employment or if the nature of the work provided is ambiguous then a well-established test in employment law is used to determine whether the contract is a contract of service or a contract for service.

The three main elements that must exist if a contract of employment is to be deemed to exist  (among others) are:

  1. Control – the employer must be able to substantively control and have ultimate authority over the employee
  2. Mutual obligation – there must be exchange of work for remuneration and an exchange of mutual promises for future performance (i.e. the employee to do the work and the employer to provide work)
  3. Personal service – an obligation for the person to provide their work personally (and not be able to send a substitute in their place)

Should the person providing their services be able to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that all three of the above conditions are fulfilled then they will be deemed to have a contract of service with their employer.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Quashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd

The Employment Judge at the PHR had found that two of the conditions necessary for a contract of service (control and the obligation to provide services personally) were present in the Claimant’s contract of employment. The EAT therefore had the responsibility of deciding whether the Employment Judge’s finding on mutuality of obligation was correct.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal determined that there was sufficient facts in the circumstances to suggest that there was mutuality of obligation between the Claimant and the Respondent. On the facts the Respondent was obliged to pay the Claimant in sterling, the Respondent was obliged to provide work on the nights that the Claimant was booked in for, the Claimant was obliged to work on the evenings that she had been booked in for, she was obliged to attend Thursday evening meetings – and would be sanctioned if she did not attend, and the Respondent controlled the rota. The EAT believed that the simple fact that the Claimant was obliged to provide work and the Respondent was obliged to pay for that work demonstrated an obligation.

On the second point of appeal (illegality) the Respondent alleged that the Claimant had acted unlawfully on issues relating to tax and that this therefore rendered any contract of employment illegal and void. The EAT allowed the Respondent’s cross-appeal and submitted the case to the Employment Tribunal for a merits hearing on unfair dismissal and whether the contract was illegal.

Our specialist employment lawyers’ thoughts on Quashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd

It has previously been generally accepted that lap dancers are self-employed for the purposes of employment law. The Claimant herself worked on a self-employed basis at her previous employer and recognised that she was self-employed at the commencement of her contract of employment. These were all findings of fact made by the Employment Judge at the PHR. The interesting fact is that in the circumstances of this case the three elements necessary for a contract of employment were made out and the Claimant succeeded in demonstrating that she had a contract of employment, regardless of the precedent. However, the findings in Quashie v Stringfellows Restaurants Ltd should not be stretched too far – the facts of this case (and therefore the outcome) are particular to the circumstances of the individual Claimant.

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk


4.64 Average

28 Reviews


Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 4 days ago

Virginia K

Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 4 days ago


Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 6 days ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 1 week ago


I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 3 weeks ago


Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 1 month ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 4 months ago


Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 4 months ago


Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 4 months ago


At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 5 months ago


Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 5 months ago


Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 5 months ago


Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 5 months ago


Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 5 months ago


Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 5 months ago


Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 5 months ago


Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 5 months ago


Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 5 months ago


Resolved my issues

Posted 5 months ago


Quick fast professional service.

Posted 5 months ago


"Prompt, efficient and practical advice that resulted in me getting some additional money tax free."

Posted 5 months ago