Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

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Mar 24, 2016
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Wiggo's Package said:
Big_Blue_Dave said:
Couple of things to add here. Firstly, not all staff members at BC (and certainly a large number outside the WCPP) or other sporting organisations earn more than the non-taxable grant that athletes receive. Of course, there are different levels of grant depending on your expected medal prospects, so some athletes are granted more than others. These athletes also do not have to pay for coaching, travel, medical/physio bills and in some cases smaller things like free phone contracts as these are all covered by the sports governing body mostly via funding from UK Sport and partly from income generated by the sporting body.

If Jess does go onto win this case, Olympic sport funding in the UK will likely cease to exist and it would also likely see the end of what we see now, whereby the athletes do not have to pay for the coaching and access to the training ground/velodrome/courts. This would reduce sport in the UK back to an amateur level similar to what was happening prior to the National Lottery as UK Sport would likely just decide to end funding except for travel costs to the Olympics at the detriment to the performance of the athletes. This would mean these athletes needing to self fund their sporting endeavours via work leaving less time for training and recovery which they do not have to do at this moment.

It could easily be said that the phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face would very much come to mind over this case.

Personally, I don't see athletes as employees in the UK. The State provides funding to allow the individual to perform at the best of their ability on a tax free basis, and then allows the individual to earn an income through prize money and other personal sponsorship deals which is then taxed on. It would be interesting to see how well the performances and therefore the sponsorship levels will hold out if all of what is received now is stopped.
If Team GB's athletes are deemed to be employees as a result of the Varnish case Olympic funding won't drop off a cliff - it will just have to be structured differently

The grant money that currently goes direct to the athletes, etc would have to go to the governing bodies instead who would then pay them salaries

An important consequence would be that income tax and national insurance would have to be paid on those salaries (roughly 20% on top) and the question would be how that additional cost is funded - more money from the Lottery/central government? Reduction in take home pay for athletes? Less athletes on the Olympic programme? IMO the last option is most likely to happen

But a 20% increase in salary costs is not such a big deal in the wider context of all the other areas where money is spent. And all those other costs (permanently employed governing body managers/coaches, equipment, travel, rent for premises, medical bills, etc) would be unchanged

UK Sport's Olympic funding model (not just the no employment rights for athletes thing but also the whole win medals or lose funding thing) has led to unethical practices and unsavoury behaviour becoming the norm in many Olympic sports - the scandals just keep coming

Time to clean house - and if Team GB wins a few less Olympic medals a a result then personally I would have no problem with that

You appear to have over simplified the cost, which would be significant. The people on the low level of grant would still have to pay NI, even if they just escape income tax. The majority would lose anything between approximately 30-50% of their grant income on NI and income tax, depending on whether they have additional income from other sources. (Not a tax expert so unsure whether any of the other benefits would also become taxable e.g. private medical cover). Unless the athletes are expected to accept this substantial hit, which would lead to some calling it a day, the increased cost to the Federations would be significant, particularly when added to the cost of providing pension contributions and paying employer NI.
 
Re: Re:

kev1n said:
You appear to have over simplified the cost, which would be significant. The people on the low level of grant would still have to pay NI, even if they just escape income tax. The majority would lose anything between approximately 30-50% of their grant income on NI and income tax, depending on whether they have additional income from other sources.
You appear to be assuming that sports people do not currently pay tax. And you are ignoring that the greater problem is the additional cost put on UK Sport of employer's NI and pension contributions.
 
Mar 24, 2016
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fmk_RoI said:
kev1n said:
You appear to have over simplified the cost, which would be significant. The people on the low level of grant would still have to pay NI, even if they just escape income tax. The majority would lose anything between approximately 30-50% of their grant income on NI and income tax, depending on whether they have additional income from other sources.
You appear to be assuming that sports people do not currently pay tax. And you are ignoring that the greater problem is the additional cost put on UK Sport of employer's NI and pension contributions.
We are not talking about sports people. We are talking about specific people who currently receive a grant as part of the Olympic program, which is not included as income and therefore not included in their NI or income tax calculation. If they become employees it all becomes subject to NI and income tax.
 
Re: Re:

kev1n said:
fmk_RoI said:
kev1n said:
You appear to have over simplified the cost, which would be significant. The people on the low level of grant would still have to pay NI, even if they just escape income tax. The majority would lose anything between approximately 30-50% of their grant income on NI and income tax, depending on whether they have additional income from other sources.
You appear to be assuming that sports people do not currently pay tax. And you are ignoring that the greater problem is the additional cost put on UK Sport of employer's NI and pension contributions.
We are not talking about sports people. We are talking about specific people who currently receive a grant as part of the Olympic program, which is not included as income and therefore not included in their NI or income tax calculation. If they become employees it all becomes subject to NI and income tax.
You are indeed correct. However, it’s a huge leap that UK Sport are making stating that if a court or tribunal finds in Varnish’s flavor that would set precedence and class all those who receive grants as taxable employees. My sense it’s scare mongering, most certainly if that case is heard in employment tribunal, no precedence will be set regardless of the result.
 
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kev1n said:
We are talking about specific people who currently receive a grant as part of the Olympic program, which is not included as income
It is not counted as taxable income for some. For others it very much is. Whether those for whom it is not considered taxable would likely gain employment status should Varnish succeed is highly doubtful.
 
Re: Re:

fmk_RoI said:
kev1n said:
We are talking about specific people who currently receive a grant as part of the Olympic program, which is not included as income
It is not counted as taxable income for some. For others it very much is. Whether those for whom it is not considered taxable would likely gain employment status should Varnish succeed is highly doubtful.
Hmmmm no. Tax law clearly defines what is a grant via the government or lottery funding. It doesn’t distinguish between one person to another. It most certainly does draw a line at what is classed as income and thus taxable. The law is actually very simplified to this respect. That’s what it’s a huge leap for UK Sport to suggest that it would class all athletes as employees and thus any income becomes taxable. Tax law doesn’t care whether they are an employee or not, it only is concerned at the source and type of income it is.
 
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thehog said:
Hmmmm no. Tax law clearly defines what is a grant via the government or lottery funding. It doesn’t distinguish between one person to another.
RTFM, please. Some Lottery funding is taxable.

TL:DR - Mary receives Lottery funding of £22,000. She has other sponsorship income. She has achieved success and engaged an agent. She is liable for tax on all her income, Lottery funding included.
 
Re: Re:

fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
Hmmmm no. Tax law clearly defines what is a grant via the government or lottery funding. It doesn’t distinguish between one person to another.
RTFM, please. Some Lottery funding is taxable.

TL:DR - Mary receives Lottery funding of £22,000. She has other sponsorship income. She has achieved success and engaged an agent. She is liable for tax on all her income, Lottery funding included.
Again, no. Your quick internet search has failed you in your inabilty to read correctly.

In the example given the Lottery funded award is not taxable. The code is clear as I stated, the source and type of income will determine if it’s a taxable item or not.

She is in receipt of an Athlete Personal Award (APA) of £22,000 and sponsorship income of £7,000. This total funding of £29,000 is however insufficient to meet her training and subsistence expenses which include the costs of the flat. Even though Mary is still only exercising a hobby and not yet trading it is worth noting that if the sponsorship income is received in return for services rendered, and this could simply be an endorsement of certain products, then the £7,000 would be taxable as miscellaneous income under Part 5 Chap 8 ITTOIA 2005. The APA is not taxable as Mary is not carrying on a trade, see BIM50675.
When she moves from Sport as hobby to a trade she has to declare all her income including the APA but receives a deduction.
 
Re: Re:

thehog said:
fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
Hmmmm no. Tax law clearly defines what is a grant via the government or lottery funding. It doesn’t distinguish between one person to another.
RTFM, please. Some Lottery funding is taxable.

TL:DR - Mary receives Lottery funding of £22,000. She has other sponsorship income. She has achieved success and engaged an agent. She is liable for tax on all her income, Lottery funding included.
Again, no. Your quick internet search has failed you in your inabilty to read correctly.

In the example given the Lottery funded award is not taxable. The code is clear as I stated, the source and type of income will determine if it’s a taxable item or not.

She is in receipt of an Athlete Personal Award (APA) of £22,000 and sponsorship income of £7,000. This total funding of £29,000 is however insufficient to meet her training and subsistence expenses which include the costs of the flat. Even though Mary is still only exercising a hobby and not yet trading it is worth noting that if the sponsorship income is received in return for services rendered, and this could simply be an endorsement of certain products, then the £7,000 would be taxable as miscellaneous income under Part 5 Chap 8 ITTOIA 2005. The APA is not taxable as Mary is not carrying on a trade, see BIM50675.
FFS Hog, read the *** page.
Mary wins gold at the World Championships and engages an agent to help her exploit her recent success. She is able to secure more sponsorship income and promotional work for a national company.

Mary’s sports activities are no longer a hobby for tax purposes. She is now organised in a business-like manner and conducts her sports activities with a view to profit. She is now taxable as she is carrying on a trade.

Mary’s trading income includes:

* APA,
* sponsorship/endorsement fees,
* winnings,
* appearance fees etc from competitions and events,
* ncome from associated activities undertaken by her (e.g. TV appearances), and
* the value of goods or equipment supplied to her.
 
Re: Re:

fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
Hmmmm no. Tax law clearly defines what is a grant via the government or lottery funding. It doesn’t distinguish between one person to another.
RTFM, please. Some Lottery funding is taxable.

TL:DR - Mary receives Lottery funding of £22,000. She has other sponsorship income. She has achieved success and engaged an agent. She is liable for tax on all her income, Lottery funding included.
Again, no. Your quick internet search has failed you in your inabilty to read correctly.

In the example given the Lottery funded award is not taxable. The code is clear as I stated, the source and type of income will determine if it’s a taxable item or not.

She is in receipt of an Athlete Personal Award (APA) of £22,000 and sponsorship income of £7,000. This total funding of £29,000 is however insufficient to meet her training and subsistence expenses which include the costs of the flat. Even though Mary is still only exercising a hobby and not yet trading it is worth noting that if the sponsorship income is received in return for services rendered, and this could simply be an endorsement of certain products, then the £7,000 would be taxable as miscellaneous income under Part 5 Chap 8 ITTOIA 2005. The APA is not taxable as Mary is not carrying on a trade, see BIM50675.
FFS Hog, read the **** page.
Mary wins gold at the World Championships and engages an agent to help her exploit her recent success. She is able to secure more sponsorship income and promotional work for a national company.

Mary’s sports activities are no longer a hobby for tax purposes. She is now organised in a business-like manner and conducts her sports activities with a view to profit. She is now taxable as she is carrying on a trade.

Mary’s trading income includes:

* APA,
* sponsorship/endorsement fees,
* winnings,
* appearance fees etc from competitions and events,
* ncome from associated activities undertaken by her (e.g. TV appearances), and
* the value of goods or equipment supplied to her.
Correct but it’s not taxed, it’s mearly declared. Simple.
 
thehog said:
And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your arse.)
 
fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)
Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.
 
thehog said:
Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.
Ah, right, yes, your confusion is my fault. Got it.
 
Re:

Big_Blue_Dave said:
Couple of things to add here. Firstly, not all staff members at BC (and certainly a large number outside the WCPP) or other sporting organisations earn more than the non-taxable grant that athletes receive. Of course, there are different levels of grant depending on your expected medal prospects, so some athletes are granted more than others. These athletes also do not have to pay for coaching, travel, medical/physio bills and in some cases smaller things like free phone contracts as these are all covered by the sports governing body mostly via funding from UK Sport and partly from income generated by the sporting body.

If Jess does go onto win this case, Olympic sport funding in the UK will likely cease to exist and it would also likely see the end of what we see now, whereby the athletes do not have to pay for the coaching and access to the training ground/velodrome/courts. This would reduce sport in the UK back to an amateur level similar to what was happening prior to the National Lottery as UK Sport would likely just decide to end funding except for travel costs to the Olympics at the detriment to the performance of the athletes. This would mean these athletes needing to self fund their sporting endeavours via work leaving less time for training and recovery which they do not have to do at this moment.

It could easily be said that the phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face would very much come to mind over this case.

Personally, I don't see athletes as employees in the UK. The State provides funding to allow the individual to perform at the best of their ability on a tax free basis, and then allows the individual to earn an income through prize money and other personal sponsorship deals which is then taxed on. It would be interesting to see how well the performances and therefore the sponsorship levels will hold out if all of what is received now is stopped.
Again, no one entity is seeing athletes as employees or non-employees. British Cycling most certainly has a duty of care to its athletes and that what’s at stake here. Whether Varnish received a grant or not is neither here nor there .
 
Mar 7, 2017
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thehog said:
fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)
Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.
If Varnish wins her Employment Tribunal case and establishes herself as an employee then:

1. With employee status she can move on to sue British Cycling for discrimination; and

2. A precedent will have been set that could well redefine all athletes in analogous situations (i.e. those on a national sports federation Olympic programme but receiving grant income) as employees of their relevant sports federation

If that happens, the athletes will gain employment rights and the sports federation will have additional obligations including paying tax/NI on the employees' salaries and making pension contributions, etc

But I agree that UK Sport (and those sympathising with UK Sport's position on here) are scaremongering. Firstly grants to athletes are only one element of the overall cost of funding Olympic athletes (comfortably less than half I'd guess) and a 20% increase in salary costs (so less than 10% overall) can be absorbed by reductions elsewhere in expenditure - it won't bring the whole house down

And secondly it would be good to see the UK's national sports federations doing the right thing by their athletes. Not just in terms of the current lack of employment rights. But maybe it would help put an end to the bullying and sexism across a range of sports. And all that unethical grey area stuff which fades to back that even an innocent like Wiggo can get sucked into... :D
 
Wiggo's Package said:
thehog said:
fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)
Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.
If Varnish wins her Employment Tribunal case and establishes herself as an employee then:

1. With employee status she can move on to sue British Cycling for discrimination; and

2. A precedent will have been set that could well redefine all athletes in analogous situations (i.e. those on a national sports federation Olympic programme but receiving grant income) as employees of their relevant sports federation

If that happens, the athletes will gain employment rights and the sports federation will have additional obligations including paying tax/NI on the employees' salaries and making pension contributions, etc

But I agree that UK Sport (and those sympathising with UK Sport's position on here) are scaremongering. Firstly grants to athletes are only one element of the overall cost of funding Olympic athletes (comfortably less than half I'd guess) and a 20% increase in salary costs (so less than 10% overall) can be absorbed by reductions elsewhere in expenditure - it won't bring the whole house down

And secondly it would be good to see the UK's national sports federations doing the right thing by their athletes. Not just in terms of the current lack of employment rights. But maybe it would help put an end to the bullying and sexism across a range of sports. And all that unethical grey area stuff which fades to back that even an innocent like Wiggo can get sucked into... :D
The doctrine of precedent will only occur from a higher court and not an employment tribunal. Arbitration will not set a precedent nor define an entire category of persons an employee or nor an employee.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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thehog said:
Wiggo's Package said:
thehog said:
fmk_RoI said:
thehog said:
And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)
Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.
If Varnish wins her Employment Tribunal case and establishes herself as an employee then:

1. With employee status she can move on to sue British Cycling for discrimination; and

2. A precedent will have been set that could well redefine all athletes in analogous situations (i.e. those on a national sports federation Olympic programme but receiving grant income) as employees of their relevant sports federation

If that happens, the athletes will gain employment rights and the sports federation will have additional obligations including paying tax/NI on the employees' salaries and making pension contributions, etc

But I agree that UK Sport (and those sympathising with UK Sport's position on here) are scaremongering. Firstly grants to athletes are only one element of the overall cost of funding Olympic athletes (comfortably less than half I'd guess) and a 20% increase in salary costs (so less than 10% overall) can be absorbed by reductions elsewhere in expenditure - it won't bring the whole house down

And secondly it would be good to see the UK's national sports federations doing the right thing by their athletes. Not just in terms of the current lack of employment rights. But maybe it would help put an end to the bullying and sexism across a range of sports. And all that unethical grey area stuff which fades to back that even an innocent like Wiggo can get sucked into... :D
The doctrine of precedent will only occur from a higher court and not an employment tribunal. Arbitration will not set a precedent nor define an entire category of persons an employee or nor an employee.
Fair enough but the sports federations as publicly funded bodies would I suspect feel obliged to follow any precedent. For sure that's what's making them nervous

Uber (where as you point out the facts are different but the principle is the same) lost in the ET and then at the ET Appeals stage. Uber now want to escalate straight to the supreme court. Why would they risk a binding supreme court precedent which could never be overturned and which would ruin their gig economy business model if they could just ignore the ET ruling other than for the 2 driver who brought that case?
 
Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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thehog said:
Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.
I think you're confusing two different issues

You're correct to say that only a higher court judgement can bind lower courts on the same facts. That's the big picture

But focusing narrowly on BC, if any court decides that one of BC's grant funded Olympic athletes is an employee then I believe it's correct to say that BC will have to adjust its employment practices for all grant funded Olympic athletes (unless BC can win an appeal and overturn the decision). And if you extrapolate outwards all UK Sport funded national federations will feel obliged to adjust their employment practices for their grant funded Olympic athletes because they all operate under the same model

Or to put it another way - if Varnish wins her ET case, establishes that she is an employee and is allowed back onto the Olympic programme, is BC really going to put Varnish on a salary with full employment rights paying her tax/NI/pension and keep the rest of its athletes on arms length grant funding with no employment rights? Can you imagine the uproar?! And OK, BC is unlikely to let Varnish back on the Olympic programme, but what happens when Laura Trott or anyone other elite BC athlete takes BC to an ET and gains full employment rights, etc (which will be a slam dunk case if Varnish wins) - BC will cave in immediately and will have to treat everyone the same. Same goes if the Olympic rowers take their federation to an ET, etc

As for the Uber case, I don't think Uber have asked to get straight to the Supreme Court to price the drivers out of the litigation. For a start IIRC the drivers' legal fees are being funded by a union. And although I haven't been to the Supreme Court I have been to the Court of Appeal and the cost of that appeal was much less than the cost of the original High Court trial. By the time of any appeal the legal legwork has been done and it's just a matter of focusing on the key/contentious issues. It's much quicker and cheaper (the barrier to entry is usually persuading the judge that you have valid ground for appeal rather than cost)
 
Wiggo's Package said:
thehog said:
Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.
I think you're confusing two different issues

You're correct to say that only a higher court judgement can bind lower courts on the same facts. That's the big picture

But focusing narrowly on BC, if any court decides that one of BC's grant funded Olympic athletes is an employee then I believe it's correct to say that BC will have to adjust its employment practices for all grant funded Olympic athletes (unless BC can win an appeal and overturn the decision). And if you extrapolate outwards all UK Sport funded national federations will feel obliged to adjust their employment practices for their grant funded Olympic athletes because they all operate under the same model

Or to put it another way - if Varnish wins her ET case, establishes that she is an employee and is allowed back onto the Olympic programme, is BC really going to put Varnish on a salary with full employment rights paying her tax/NI/pension and keep the rest of its athletes on arms length grant funding with no employment rights? Can you imagine the uproar?! And OK, BC is unlikely to let Varnish back on the Olympic programme, but what happens when Laura Trott or anyone other elite BC athlete takes BC to an ET and gains full employment rights, etc (which will be a slam dunk case if Varnish wins) - BC will cave in immediately and will have to treat everyone the same. Same goes if the Olympic rowers take their federation to an ET, etc

As for the Uber case, I don't think Uber have asked to get straight to the Supreme Court to price the drivers out of the litigation. For a start IIRC the drivers' legal fees are being funded by a union. And although I haven't been to the Supreme Court I have been to the Court of Appeal and the cost of that appeal was much less than the cost of the original High Court trial. By the time of any appeal the legal legwork has been done and it's just a matter of focusing on the key/contentious issues. It's much quicker and cheaper (the barrier to entry is usually persuading the judge that you have valid ground for appeal rather than cost)
Grant funded athletes already file tax returns listing out grant money as income, they are effectively self employed. Laura Trott already earns from serveral sources but what Laura Trott doesn’t have is a grievance channel if she ever finds herself discriminatinated against. Only good can come from this case just like the Bosman ruling in football, which at the time clubs said was going to destroy them and hold them hostage to player demands.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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thehog said:
Wiggo's Package said:
thehog said:
Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.
I think you're confusing two different issues

You're correct to say that only a higher court judgement can bind lower courts on the same facts. That's the big picture

But focusing narrowly on BC, if any court decides that one of BC's grant funded Olympic athletes is an employee then I believe it's correct to say that BC will have to adjust its employment practices for all grant funded Olympic athletes (unless BC can win an appeal and overturn the decision). And if you extrapolate outwards all UK Sport funded national federations will feel obliged to adjust their employment practices for their grant funded Olympic athletes because they all operate under the same model

Or to put it another way - if Varnish wins her ET case, establishes that she is an employee and is allowed back onto the Olympic programme, is BC really going to put Varnish on a salary with full employment rights paying her tax/NI/pension and keep the rest of its athletes on arms length grant funding with no employment rights? Can you imagine the uproar?! And OK, BC is unlikely to let Varnish back on the Olympic programme, but what happens when Laura Trott or anyone other elite BC athlete takes BC to an ET and gains full employment rights, etc (which will be a slam dunk case if Varnish wins) - BC will cave in immediately and will have to treat everyone the same. Same goes if the Olympic rowers take their federation to an ET, etc

As for the Uber case, I don't think Uber have asked to get straight to the Supreme Court to price the drivers out of the litigation. For a start IIRC the drivers' legal fees are being funded by a union. And although I haven't been to the Supreme Court I have been to the Court of Appeal and the cost of that appeal was much less than the cost of the original High Court trial. By the time of any appeal the legal legwork has been done and it's just a matter of focusing on the key/contentious issues. It's much quicker and cheaper (the barrier to entry is usually persuading the judge that you have valid ground for appeal rather than cost)
Grant funded athletes already file tax returns listing out grant money as income, they are effectively self employed. Laura Trott already earns from serveral sources but what Laura Trott doesn’t have is a grievance channel if she ever finds herself discriminatinated against. Only good can come from this case just like the Bosman ruling in football, which at the time clubs said was going to destroy them and hold them hostage to player demands.
Agree that athlete shouldn't be powerless if they are mistreated - we've seen what happens when coaches have unfettered power and it's not pretty

But the potential financials implications of Varnish's litigation are also important. And check out this ECJ case reported yesterday (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42164201). If Varnish wins her case and the Court of Appeal follows the ECJ ruling as per that link that really could cripple BC and the other sports federations financially. They might have to make backdated holiday pay and pension payments etc to all grant funded Olympic athletes since that funding model was introduced. (Btw FWIW I suspect the Court of Appeal will find a way to ignore that ECJ ruling on public policy grounds)
 
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