Plumber Gary Smith alleged he was unfairly dismissed by Pimlico Plumbers
Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for virtually six years from 2005, previously won a number of court rulings which unyielding he could claim “worker” status, even though he was described in his diminish as a “self-employed operative”.
Those were upheld unanimously by five Utmost Court justices, who rejected an appeal by Pimlico Plumbers.
Announcing the decisiveness in London on Wednesday, Lord Wilson said an employment tribunal was “entitled to conclude” the upon could not be regarded as having been a “client or customer” of Mr Smith.
The expert said: “Although the contract did provide him with elements of operational and monetary independence, Mr Smith’s services to the company’s customers were marketed in all respects the company.
“More importantly, its sessions enabled the company to exercise tight administrative control over him during his patches of work it; to impose fierce conditions on when and how much it paid to him, which were portrayed at one point as his wages; and to restrict his ability to compete with it for plumbing ahead following any termination of their relationship.”
The ruling is likely to have a dominant impact on the sort of flexible working arrangements which have been on the swell in recent years and could affect a number of other cases currently expanding through the courts.
Mr Smith, a plumbing and heating engineer, was one of 125 contractors Pimlico Plumbers could entitle on to carry out jobs for its customers and had a company uniform and van which he rented.
He righted that, after suffering a heart attack in 2011 and trying to triturate his hours, he was unfairly dismissed and the tribunal made a preliminary finding that he was a “labourer” within the meaning of the 1996 Employment Rights Act.
That decision was advocated by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and again by the Court of Appeal in January after year.
The Court of Appeal found Mr Smith was a worker because he was made to use the firm’s van for assignments and was contractually obliged to do a minimum number of hours a week.
As a “woman”, he is entitled to employment rights including holiday and sick pay.
It was a terrible settlement. They [judges] had an opportunity to rectify our out-of-date employment rights and they bottled it.
Mr Smith last wishes as now be able to go ahead with his employment tribunal claim for unfair firing against Pimlico Plumbers as a “worker”.
Pimlico Plumbers chief official Charlie Mullins attacked the court’s ruling as “disgraceful”, saying the considers had missed an opportunity to update employment laws.
Speaking outside the court, he affirmed: “It was a terrible decision. They had an opportunity to rectify our out-of-date employment in a beelines and they bottled it.
Charlie Mullins speaks to the media maximal the Supreme Court
“The case is not over. I will be talking to my lawyers nearby where we go from here. We could possibly go to a European court of law.
“The Administration must now clarity the law and I hope to be part of that.”
Mr Smith said he whim now be celebrating his victory with a drink.
“I’m glad it’s all over. It has been perfectly stressful and arduous,” he said outside the court.
He is now a “proper” self-employed measure, he said.
His legal team said the outcome will have an smash on other workers in the gig economy.