13th Jul, 2020

Bromsgrove Olympian Jessica Varnish planning to sue UK Sport and British Cycling

Craig Gibbons 25th Nov, 2017

BROMSGROVE Olympian Jessica Varnish is planning to sue UK Sport and British Cycling.

A source close to the 27-year-old told BBC Sport her legal action was based on claims she was subjected to sexual discrimination, the detrimental effect her whistleblowing had, vicitmisation and unfair dismissal.

The track sprinter was dropped from British Cycling’s programme last year and it was later found out former technical director Shane Sutton used sexist language towards her.

Sutton subsequently resigned from his position but was cleared of eight of the nine allegations made against him.

There will now be a preliminary hearing in April to determine whether Varnish should be considered as having effectively been an employee of UK Sport and British Cycling whilst competing for Team GB.

If Varnish’s lawyers can successfully argue she did have employee status, it could have major ramifications for all contracted British athletes funded by UK Sport which would also have to start paying pension and National Insurance costs.

At the moment this is avoided because athletes are not regarded as members of staff.

A British Cycling spokesperson said: “We are in an ongoing and positive dialogue with Jess and look forward to reaching a resolution which all parties will regard as equitable.”

UK Sport said it was unable to comment on the issues because the ‘legal process was ongoing’.

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