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3 Things We Learnt In Law This Week (20 December 2018)

Olympic Cyclist Jess Varnish Claims Sex Discrimination Against UK Sport and British Cycling

Jess Varnish is suing UK Sport and British Cycling for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination in a case which could transform the entire funding landscape of Olympic and Paralympic sport.

Varnish, who cycled alongside Victoria Pendleton at London 2012, was dropped from the British Cycling programme before the Rio Olympics in 2016.

She alleged bullying and discrimination, specifically that then technical director Shane Sutton said her bottom was “too big” to ride certain roles on the team and that she should go off and “have a baby”.

Varnish will challenge the employment status of athletes who are supported by grants from UK Sport, the national funding body.

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Seasonal Workers: Key Contractual Issues for Employers

In sectors such as hospitality, tourism, retail and agriculture, seasonal peaks can bring an influx of work at certain times of the year. A common solution for employers in these sectors is to recruit additional employees during these periods. Below we set out the key contractual considerations for employers to bear in mind when hiring seasonal employees.

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Update on ‘Gig Economy’ Case Law and Developments

Welcome to the new modern work structure: the gig economy. Where temporary positions are prevalent, freelance work is the norm and organisations contract with individuals on a short-term basis. In this article we will explore the high-profile tribunal cases of 2017 which have kept the ‘gig economy’ making headline news. 

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The Spring Budget 2017: IR35 and Public Sector Contractors

Some, or most of you will recall that the government introduced IR35 in 2000 to stop ‘disguised employee’ i.e. self-employed individuals, who fundamentally share the characteristics of an employees, working under a limited company to benefit from the tax breaks. 

Whether IR35 achieved the aim that the government set remains debateable. However, in this spring’s budget the government took a step further and confirmed from 6 April 2017, in the public sector only, IR35 status will be determined by the client, not the contractor. 

If a client decides that IR35 applies, the contractor business will be taxed at source, through the Real Time Information (RTI) system, exactly as if it were an employee. While the tax position would be the same as that of an employee, unfortunately, the benefits won’t as the contractor will not be entitled to sick or holiday pay, nor will they have the right to claim unfair dismissal.

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Employment status: self-employed, employee or worker?

Employment status always seems to rear its head from time to time.  The latest case to hit the headlines concerns the taxi hire firm Uber, with some of its drivers pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim stating they are workers with employment rights rather than self-employed, as Uber alleges.  Whilst we await the outcome, it serves as a prompt reminder that employment status can be somewhat confusing for both employers and employees.

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Are GP’s employees, workers or self-employed?

When you are a professional, as the term suggests, you have obtained the required standard of knowledge and/or experience in a certain field to be able to charge for your services. How one goes about charging for that service, whether via direct employment, contracting for services or being self-employed, is more diverse in today’s skills marketplace than ever.

In the medical sphere in particular, the construction of how one goes about getting paid for all that hard work can sometimes cloud the issue as to one’s employment status, something it is important to be certain of if problems arise.

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Employee or not Employee: That is Always the Question

The question of an individual’s employment status is one often put to us as Employment Lawyers, and one which always requires a fair few questions being posed in return to establish whether the relevant person is an employee, a worker or none of the above. It is a question that crops up in a number of sectors, often with Tradesmen and in particular the fields of dentistry and optometry.

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Actors put Employment Status in the Spotlight

Employment status plays a central role in employment law as it determines the rights and protections available to individuals and can often have implications in relation to, for example, tax liability.

In the last three years alone, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have decided on the employment status of volunteers, lap dancers as well as Methodist Preachers.

Given the complexities in this area of law, the Government’s recent decision to review worker and employee status is welcome in many quarters. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) many individuals are currently unaware of their employment status and so consequently their employment rights.

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Employment Status: Labels not everything!

In everyday life we generally seek to place labels on items which correspond simply to the function or description of those objects, for example in an office kitchen, the labelling of a tub of sugar so as to avoid the making of a round of cuppas with salt in them.

In employment law however, the labels placed on certain work relationships can often be inaccurate and wholly misleading, even where clarity and certainty were the guiding intentions of those seeking to apply those labels. There is no area where this statement is more accurate than that of determining the employment status of the individual.

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