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US News Plumber wins landmark employment rights case

12:56  13 june  2018
12:56  13 june  2018 Source:   news.sky.com

Supreme Court decision due in landmark case over plumber’s employment status

  Supreme Court decision due in landmark case over plumber’s employment status The court will deliver its ruling in the case involving Pimlico Plumbers, which is said will have ‘huge ramifications’ for the gig economy.Gary Smith, a plumber who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for nearly six years from 2005, has already won a number of court rulings that determined he could claim “worker” status even though he was described in his contract as a “self-employed operative”.

A plumber has won a legal battle for employment rights that could have implications for thousands of workers across Britain’s booming gig economy. The Court of Appeal ruled that Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for six years until 2011

A landmark case surrounding a former Pimlico Plumber that is said to have 'huge ramifications' for Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico plumbers for nearly six years from 2005, has already won a a preliminary finding that he was a 'worker' within the meaning of the 1996 Employment Rights Act.

Former Pimlico Plumbers employee Gary Smith at the Supreme Court © Getty Former Pimlico Plumbers employee Gary Smith at the Supreme Court

A plumber has won a landmark legal case that is likely to have widespread implications for workers on self-employment contracts.

Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers full-time for six years, took his case to the Supreme Court, over his entitlement to rights such as sick pay.

The five Supreme Court justices rejected an appeal by Pimlico Plumbers against a number of court rulings that determined he could claim "worker" status, even though he was described in his contract as a "self-employed operative".

Announcing the decision in London, Lord Wilson said an employment tribunal was "entitled to conclude" the firm could not be viewed as Mr Smith's "client or customer".

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A previous employment tribunal found that the plumbers were workers - but not employees . The Court of Appeal has agreed with that decision, dismissing Pimlico Plumbers ' appeal. Bike courier wins 'gig' economy employment rights case . 7 January 2017.

The judge said: "Although the contract did provide him with elements of operational and financial independence, Mr Smith's services to the company's customers were marketed through the company.

"More importantly, its terms enabled the company to exercise tight administrative control over him during his periods of work it; to impose fierce conditions on when and how much it paid to him, which were described at one point as his wages; and to restrict his ability to compete with it for plumbing work following any termination of their relationship."

Some commentators have said the ruling is expected to have a major impact on the what is often called the gig economy.

Flexible working arrangements, many of which involve firms recruiting people on a self-employed basis, have been on the rise in recent years.

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Uber will this week begin its appeal of a landmark UK employment case that will test the issue of Gary Smith, a plumber , won a case in the court of appeal that ruled that despite being described as Independent contractors have none of these rights . Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the IWGB

Gary Smith, a plumber who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for nearly six years from 2005, has already won a number of court rulings that At today's #SupremeCourt case against former Pimlico contractor Gary Smith, who is demanding # employment rights despite signing a self- employed contract.

It is thought the ruling could affect a number of other cases currently progressing through the courts but Pimlico Plumbers' lawyer claimed its impact would be limited.

Susannah Kintish of Mishcon de Reya, said: "This judgment does not lay down any new principles of law around worker status.

"Instead, all eyes will be on the Government as businesses await legislation on how to categorise their workforce - something which could still be a matter of years away. In the meantime, the gig economy continues to evolve and existing employment law is rendered increasingly unfit for purpose.

"The Supreme Court Justices have made it clear that this judgment is very specific to the unique facts of the case.

"It will therefore do little to stem the flow of litigation around worker status which, in the absence of any overarching principles, will need to be determined on the specific circumstances of each case."

Mr Smith was on call by Pimlico Plumbers to carry out jobs for its customers and had a company uniform and van which he rented.

He claimed that, after suffering a heart attack in 2011, he was unfairly dismissed when he tried to reduce his hours.

A tribunal made a preliminary finding that he was a "worker" within the meaning of the 1996 Employment Rights Act - a decision that was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and again by the Court of Appeal in January last year.

The Court of Appeal found Mr Smith was a worker because he was obliged to use the firm's van for jobs and was contractually obligated to work a minimum number of hours a week.

As a "worker", he was entitled to employment rights including holiday and sick pay, the court decided.

More follows...

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