News and Events

Plumber Wins Landmark Case Against Pimlico Plumbers

  • Posted

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Pimlico Plumbers this week and upheld the decision made by the Employment Tribunal and Court of Appeal, that plumber Gary Smith was in fact a ‘worker’ under the Employment Rights Act 1996, and not self-employed.

Sonia Gaddu, Trainee Solicitor with Talbots Law's Employment team, says that Mr Smith had been working for Pimlico Plumbers for around 6 years when he was then dismissed. He brought a Tribunal case and the main question related to his employment status and whether he was self-employed, as the company claimed, or a worker. The case went to the Supreme Court and the Judge has concluded that Mr Smith did have ‘worker’ status, despite the fact he was VAT registered.

The Supreme Court based its decision on determining whether Mr Smith undertook to personally perform work for Pimlico Plumbers when it was not his client or customer. Although Mr Smith was able to decide when he worked, what jobs he took on and had to supply his own tools, he was required to work a minimum number of hours a week, provided with a uniform and had to drive a Pimlico Plumbers branded van.

As a worker this enables Mr Smith to be entitled to certain employment rights such as paid holiday and sick pay, which he would not be entitled to if he was self-employed.

This decision should see an increase in others challenging their employment status when working for a ‘gig economy’ business.

If you are unsure of the status of your employees or require any employment advice on employment contracts or any aspect of employment law please contact Lubna Laheria or Sonia Gaddu or call us on 0800 118 1500.