Jess Varnish appeal hearing in British Cycling case set for next week

Jess Varnish
Jess Varnish is a former European team sprint champion and world silver medallist

Former Great Britain Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish’s appeal hearing in her employment case against British Cycling will take place next week.

Varnish, who was dropped from the programme for Rio 2016, lost her initial case in January 2019 but won the right to an appeal December.

The 29-year-old argued she should be considered an employee of British Cycling or the funding agency UK Sport.

But the initial hearing ruled her funding was like a university grant.

The latest hearing will be held in public via webinar on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Varnish said in December: “We could easily have walked away after the original decision went against us. However, I believe we’re doing the right thing by not giving up.”

The former European team sprint champion and world silver medallist attempted to prove she was an employee to allow her to sue both bodies for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination after being dropped for the Rio Olympics.

Varnish, who will not be appearing, is challenging whether the law has been applied correctly in her initial verdict.

There are three possible outcomes to the appeal:

  • The original decision is overturned;
  • It is decided a second tribunal needs to take place, with three panel judges rather than one;
  • The original decision is upheld.

The judgement could take three to 10 weeks after the hearing.

If the decision is overturned, Vanish would be able to initiate proceedings against British Cycling on the grounds of unfair dismissal, though the governing body itself could appeal this.

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