Contract agency workers discrimination claims

Contract agency workers had no claim against end user Principal over pay:  Boohene and Ors v Royal Parks Ltd

The recent Court of Appeal case Boohene and Ors v Royal Parks Ltd (May 2024 Court of Appeal) reminds HR practitioners dealing with agency workers that whilst an agency worker (a temp) can bring a claim against the end user hirer for discrimination where the discriminatory act is done by the end user client, one of the end user client’s employees, as if often the case where the claimant temp is subjected to harassment, that is not so if the discriminatory act is done by the Employment Business agency. 

In this case, a first instance employment tribunal judgment that temporary contract workers should be compensated by the end user hirer for indirect discrimination in the form of unequal pay, was overturned by the Court of Appeal. The Royal Park’s permanent staff enjoyed a higher rate of pay. The claimants alleged discrimination on the part of the principal, Royal Parks Ltd. However, the end user could not be liable for indirect discrimination under section 41 of the Equality Act which only allows contract workers (temps) to bring claims where the discriminatory act is done the end user hirer, the Principal. Claims such as this, that the terms of their contract including their pay are discriminatory can only be brought against the supplier i.e. the Employment Business employing or engaging them. 

Practical tip

Wherever you are in the supply chain, end user hirer (Principal) or intermediary Employment Business (Agency) take advice when negotiating your contracts and preparing your employment documentation, from specialists in discrimination, employment agency and atypical workers law.

How Moore Barlow can help

Moore Barlow provide advice and assistance in drafting employment contracts, policies, and procedures that comply with legal requirements and protect the interests of the employer. We also offer training to managers and HR professionals on how to implement and enforce these documents effectively. Contact our Business employment lawyers if you need help.