case law

HPC Law – Case Law Update: January 2019

HPC Law Update – January 2019

This month, Daniel Meyer-Lopez from HPC Law outlines some key case law updates.


Employee, worker or self-employed?


Over the last 12 months, there have been several decisions as to whether Claimants were self-employed, workers or employees. With the Uber and Hermes decisions ruling that taxi drivers and delivery couriers were deemed to be workers within the meaning of section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, these cases do not seem to be going away.


Two cases come to mind to show that the Tribunals and Appeal Courts are taking different approaches are discussed below.


Mr Chatfield Roberts -v- Miss M Phillips (1) and Universal Aunts Limited


This was an Employment Appeal Tribunal decision.


The facts of the case were that Miss M Phillips (MP) was asked to work as a live-in carer and to work 6 days a week having only one day off and other periods of leave which included jury service and other periods of leave for which she was paid in full.


The role was defined for her by Mr Chatfield Roberts (CR) and none of the tasks she was ‘expected’ to undertake were deemed to be self-generated, i.e. decided by her.


The Employment Tribunal found that MP was an employee for a number of reasons including the fact that she was paid while she took holidays and the fact that the only ‘substitution’ was when she was not available and (this is my own emphasis), surely this would have been the position with any carer who worked 6 days a week? What happened on the days she was not there was that she would contact an agency called Universal Aunts Limited to provide an alternative carer when she was not available.


CR appealed this unsuccessfully and the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the ET’s decision.


District Judge Claire Gilham


This is a case that has been ongoing since 2015. DJ Gilham sat as a County Court Judge initially in Runcorn and was then transferred to Warrington following the closure of Runcorn County Court.


She raised concerns about the workload and claimed that she suffered detriments when she raised the concerns and claimed that she was whistleblowing and should be given protection under the Employment Rights Act 1996.


Her claim was dismissed on the bases that she was deemed be an “office holder” and not an employee or worker. Her case is that she has an employment contract with either the Ministry of Justice, the Lord Chancellor or they are employed by the Crown.


Her case was dismissed unanimously by the Appeal Court and she is now taking her case to the Supreme Court for a decision to be made on the issue. Her case is due to be heard in June 2019.


If you have any questions or queries regarding the contents of this article, please get in touch with the HPC team today.


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