Varnish tribunal date set

Varnish has claimed she was unfairly dropped from the GB squad

Former GB Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish’s long-running dispute with British Cycling and UK Sport is to be heard before a tribunal next week, her legal representative has confirmed.

The legal action is based on claims the sprint cyclist suffered unfair dismissal, sexual discrimination, victimisation and detrimental treatment as a result of whistle-blowing while part of the Olympic programme.

Varnish was dropped from British Cycling’s elite programme in 2016 just a few months prior to the Rio games.

Former Great Britain Technical Director Shane Sutton was found to have used sexist language towards her, but eight of the nine allegations were subsequently not upheld.

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The case rests on Varnish’s legal team being able to prove to the tribunal that she had employee rights, rather than the different status given to nationally-funded athletes.

The case will be heard from December 10 to 17 in Manchester according to her legal representative, Simon Fenton.

“It is Varnish’s case that she was an employee (or worker), with the right not to be discriminated against,” he said in a statement.

“This case comes in a line of decisions from the cases of Uber, Addison Lee and Pimlico Plumbers which show how tribunals are looking at what actually happened in practice rather than simply accepting what is said in the contractual documentation. And they are deciding that the individuals are workers.

“If it is decided that Varnish was either an employee or worker, she will have to come back to tribunal some time in 2019 for them to decide whether she suffered sex discrimination.”

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