Jess Varnish has failed in her appeal against an employment tribunal decision ©Getty Images

Former British cyclist Jess Varnish has failed in her employment tribunal appeal against British Cycling and UK Sport.

Varnish had previously been unsuccessful in an effort to prove she was an employee of British Cycling and UK Sport last January.

The decision meant she was unable to sue both bodies for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination.

The 29-year-old lodged an appeal last year, with the case heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in May.

Justice Choudhury has upheld the initial decision, with Varnish's appeal dismissed.

"The tribunal was entitled to conclude, based on an evaluative judgment taking account of all relevant factors, that the claimant was not an employee or a worker," the verdict read.

"The tribunal had not erred in its approach to the assessment of employee status and nor had it reached conclusions that no reasonable tribunal, properly directed, could have reached."

Varnish began legal proceedings after she was dropped from the Olympic podium programme in 2016, which she claimed was due to her criticism of coaches after she failed to qualify for Rio 2016.

She also claimed that British Cycling's technical director at the time, Shane Sutton, told her to "go and have a baby".

An internal investigation found that Sutton, who resigned shortly after the incident, had used sexist language but was not guilty of bullying.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the initial decision ©Getty Images
The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the initial decision ©Getty Images

British Cycling said Varnish had been dropped from the team for performance reasons.

Varnish's legal team, when announcing the appeal, had argued that the tribunal erred in law in finding that there was no "mutuality of obligation" between Varnish and British Cycling.

Among the other claims was that the tribunal failed to explain how the work performed by a professional football player, such as training and competition, is different from the work performed by Varnish for British Cycling.

It was also claimed the tribunal erred in law in finding that the services and benefits received by Varnish from British Cycling were not remuneration.

British Cycling argued that the relationship the national governing body has with athletes is similar to students receiving grants from universities, rather than employees.

British Cycling welcomed the decision to uphold the initial verdict.

“We believe that British Cycling’s relationship with riders who represent this country is not one of employer-employee but that of an organisation supporting dedicated athletes to fulfil their potential," a British Cycling statement read.

“This view was supported in law by the first tribunal, a verdict confirmed by today’s dismissal of Jess’s appeal.

“We had tried to reach a resolution with Jess much sooner, so we regret she was advised to pursuie the route of an employment tribunal when other avenues were open to her.

“Because of our responsibility to represent the best interests of every rider who hopes to represent the best interests of every rider who hopes to compete at an Olympics or Paralympics, that decision meant we had no option but to oppose her case.

“Since Jess raised her concerns about the Great Britain Cycling Team in 2016, we have implemented significant changes to the culture and processes of our high-performance programme.

“Four years on, and while we are always seeking to improve, we are happy to say that the well-being of staff and riders in our high-performance programme continues to be our highest priority.”

The landmark ruling last year was seen as a blow to any other Olympic athletes who had considered the possibility of suing UK Sport and/or their respective governing bodies.