Tipster: Is an elephant really an elephant?
As part of a new feature bdaily will provide regular quick tips that have been contributed by businesses. Today, David Gibson from Crutes Law Firm, a regular contributor, enlightens us on the following topic:
Is an elephant really an elephant?
In the interesting case of Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher, the Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision that car valets, whose contracts stated that they were self employed were actually employees. The Courts were basically saying that employers can put a label or tag on the relationship but it is how the relationship works that really matters. Why was this so important? If the individuals were sub-contractors then Autoclenz would not have responsibility for them, someone else would. However, such was the closeness of the relationship between the valeters and Autoclenz that Autoclenz were deemed to be the employer. Therefore the valeters had all employment rights in relation to unfair dismissal, contractual obligations and duties and, therefore had a higher level of protected status.
The message for employers is clear. Do not just think about the label that you are putting on the people that are working for you, think about the relationship and how it should be structured to ensure that you are fully aware of whether you are dealing with an elephant or a tiger.
For further information about this tip or to learn more about Crutes’ services contact David Gibson on 0191 233 9762.