The Supreme Court today has given its judgement in the case of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd v Smith.
This is an important judgement in determining whether or not persons described as “independent contractors” are in fact in law “workers”, thus enabling them to bring claims for holiday pay, unlawful deduction of wages and discrimination claims.
The Supreme Court has decided that the plumber in question, Mr Smith, was so much an integral part of Pimlico’s operations and was subordinate to it, that he fell within the definition of a “worker”. Although he could provide a substitute for his work, the substitute could only come from Pimlico’s other list of plumbers.
Other important factors were that he:
- Wore a Pimlico uniform.
- Drove a Pimlico van.
- Carried a Pimlico identification card.
- Was bound by Pimlico’s post termination covenants.
Although it can be argued that the case is fact dependent, it sends out a clear warning to all businesses that although an individual may be described as an “independent contractor” they are in fact in law a “worker” and therefore have entitlement to a host of employment rights.