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Tag Archive

10 ways the world of work has changed in the last 10 years – 2011 vs 2021

A new year is upon us and with all the uncertainty going on around us at the moment, it seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect and evaluate. We have all had to adapt in so many ways over the last 12 months, not least in how we all work, that we thought we’d have a look at how the world of work has changed in the last 10 years.

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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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Gig Economy – Royal Mail Group Facing Legal Action From Drivers

The trend towards gig economy drivers and contractors demanding employment status rights will continue throughout 2018. This should come as no surprise when you consider the recent report published by parliamentary committees which determined nearly 1.6 million people work for gig-economy giants and find relatively little protection provided under current employment law due to their status. 

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LEGAL UPDATE: Supreme Court Decision Announces in Pimlico Plumbers Case

The Supreme Court has delivered its ruling on the landmark Pimlico Plumbers case, upholding previous decisions that a ‘self-employed’ plumber was in fact a ‘worker’. This entitled him to a variety of employment rights under UK law, including discrimination protection and holiday pay. The case has continued to make headline news because of its impact on organisations operating in the ‘gig economy’.

The case centred on the employment status of Mr Gary Smith, a plumber who worked on a self-employed basis with Pimlico Plumbers for approximately six years until 2011. Both the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal supported Mr Smith’s position that he was a ‘worker’ with certain employment rights, including holiday pay. Pimlico Plumbers appealed the case to the Supreme Court. Pimlico Plumbers has lost that appeal, with the Supreme Court supporting previous rulings.

In the Supreme Court’s view, the fact that Pimlico Plumbers exercised control over Mr Smith, imposed conditions around how much it paid him and, on his clothing, and appearance for work, all supported the conclusion that he was a ‘worker’ and not genuinely self-employed. It also noted that the dominant feature of his relationship with the Pimlico Plumbers was that he would do the work personally, rather than be able to pass it on to a substitute contractor, even though he did have the option to pass work to another Pimlico Plumber operative.

In reality these cases are limited to the very particular facts of their arrangements and do not significantly clarify or change the law in relation to worker status. They do, however, serve as a reminder that courts will look at the reality of the situation, over and above what is in any written documentation.

If you need help and advice regarding determining whether individuals are workers or employees, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

If you would like to be kept up to date with employment law and dispute resolution updates, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Employment status: are Addison Lee Couriers workers?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has rejected Addison Lee’s attempt to overturn a judgment by the Employment Tribunal (‘ET’) which found that one of their cycle-couriers was entitled to basic employment rights.

The EAT’s decision is yet another example of the gig economy litigation in which the Tribunals have looked past the written words of the contract of employment to examine the real working arrangements between the parties.

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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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