Dewhurst v CitySprint UK Ltd- latest ‘gig economy’ case on worker status

Last year an employment tribunal heard the case of Aslam, Farrar and Others v Uber where it was held the drivers that brought a claim against Uber were ‘workers’ and accordingly qualified for various rights under employment legislation.

The case of Dewhurst v CitySprint UK Ltd ET/220512/2016 is similar to the Uber judgment in that it also concerns a claimant working within the ‘gig economy’ claiming employment rights.

In this case, Margaret Dewhurst worked as a cycle courier for CitySprint. CitySprint stated that Ms Dewhurst worked for them on a self-employed basis while Ms Dewhurst asserted that the working relationship she had with CitySprint was quite different. She claimed that she was in fact a worker and therefore was entitled to remuneration for holiday pay.

The employment tribunal considered various aspects of the Claimant’s and Respondent’s working relationship when coming to their decision, ultimately holding in the Claimant’s favour. Particularly relevant to the tribunal’s decision was the fact that despite the substitution clause in the Claimant’s contract, she would not in reality be able to provide a substitute to perform her work. The Claimant was therefore contracted to perform the work for CitySprint personally which was not usual for someone that was truly self-employed. The degree of control exercised by the Respondent over the Claimant was also considered a significant factor when the tribunal came to its decision.

It is unlikely that this will be the last judgment on the gig economy and worker status; Uber for example have already announced their intention to appeal. We will keep you updated on any further developments and judgments concerning the gig economy, but in the meantime if you need help assessing the employment status of those that perform work for your business please do not hesitate to contact us.