One of the highest profile employment law cases of recent times went to the Supreme Court on 20 February 2018.
Gary Smith worked for Pimlico between 2005 and 2011 as a “self-employed” plumber. He was required to wear a Pimlico uniform, lease a signwritten company van and work a minimum number of hours each week. He could however choose the jobs he worked, provided his own tools and accounted for his own tax and NI as a self-employed business. After suffering a heart attack and trying to reduce his working hours, Mr Smith was dismissed and subsequently brought a Tribunal case claiming that he was actually employed not self-employed.
Self Employed? Or a Pimlico Worker?
The original Employment Tribunal found that Mr Smith was actually a “worker” and therefore entitled to holiday and sick pay and protection from discrimination, although not full employment rights. The Employment Appeal Tribunal, and later in 2017 the Court of Appeal, agreed that Mr Smith was a worker and put particular weight on the fact that he had to perform his obligations personally and couldn’t nominate a substitute. This is a standard test for self-employment.
The case has attracted a lot of media attention, largely due to the boss of Pimlico Plumbers Charlie Mullins taking the outcome very personally and fighting it all the way through the court system. Mr Mullins takes the view that Mr Smith was very well paid as a self-employed contractor and is now trying to “have his cake and eat it”.
If you are concerned about the correct tax and employment law status for any of your employees or self-employed contractors then please contact a member of our employment law team who will be able to help and provide the right contract for that person.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team
Tel: 01245 893400