Pimlico Plumbers is once again appealing against the decision to class a sacked contractor as an official “worker”.
Plumber Gary Smith brought his case to the Employment Tribunal in 2012. After having worked for Pimlico as a contractor for six years, he was sacked following a heart attack in 2011.
As Smith wore a uniform, drove a Pimlico Plumbers van and worked a minimum of 40 hours a week during his tenure with the company, the ET ruled that he was an employee rather than a contractor. As such, he was entitled to employment rights, including minimum wage and holiday pay.
“The Supreme Court’s judgment will be as important to mainstream businesses, many of whom use self-employed contractors, as to gig economy platforms,” said Rachel Farr, an employment lawyer for Taylor Wessing.
“We have not yet heard how or if the government intends to implement the findings of the Taylor Review, but the Supreme Court’s decision will also be applied by UK courts in other cases.”
This is not the first time that Pimlico has appealed the historic decision. Smith was forced to cross-appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal after Pimlico’s first attempt. The ET’s decision was then upheld again by the Court of Appeal in February of this year.
Now Pimlico is taking its case to the Supreme Court.
“It’s wonderful that we have been granted permission to appeal our long-running and potentially ground-breaking employment case to the Supreme Court,” said Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers. “I have always maintained that Mr Smith was a self-employed contractor, and to my mind the evidence overwhelmingly supports our position.
“Let me be crystal clear, I completely condemn disreputable [organisations] who are using fake self-employment to swindle workers out of pay and conditions, however, at Pimlico Plumbers we are not doing that. It is my determined aim to convince the Supreme Court that by using self-employment status, Pimlico Plumbers is doing nothing wrong, and what’s more is both morally and legally in the right.
“The ramifications of this case will impact upon many thousands of [organisations] in the building industry and beyond and potentially affect the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of UK workers. I am needless to say incredibly grateful that the Supreme Court has agreed to look again at the case.”
A date has not been set, and the Supreme Court is not expected to reach a decision until next year.