UK: Supreme Court rules self-employed contractor entitled to workers' rights in lawsuit against plumbing co.
Author: Sejal Raja, RadcliffesLeBrasseur (UK), Published on: 14 June 2018
"Pimlico Plumbers – The final chapter?", 13 June 2018
The Supreme Court today handed down its judgment in the long awaited case of Mr Smith and Pimlico Plumbers...Mr Smith was a plumber undertaking work for Pimlico Plumbers between August 2005 and April 2011 and engaged as an independent contractor. Mr Smith complained that, following a heart attack, he was unfairly/wrongfully dismissed and claimed entitlement to pay during medical suspension, holiday pay and arrears of pay. He also claimed direct disability discrimination, discrimination arising from disability and failure to make reasonable adjustments. Pimlico Plumbers argued that Mr Smith was an independent contractor of the company...During the proceedings Mr Smith accepted that while working for Pimlico Plumbers he believed the arrangement was that he was self-employed...The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that, during the period that Mr Smith worked for Pimlico Plumbers, he was a worker. Pimlico Plumbers appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was unsuccessful so Pimlico Plumbers appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has this morning held unanimously that Mr Smith was a worker...[T]he Supreme Court held that Mr Smith had undertaken to personally perform his work/services for Pimlico Plumbers and that Pimlico Plumbers was neither the client nor the customer of Mr Smith. It held that the terms of the contract directed performance by Mr Smith personally and any right to a substitute was significantly limited. This judgment is important and has huge implications not just for gig economy employers but those organisations who want to maintain a flexible workforce by engaging consultants on a self-employed basis...