A temporary agency worker who claimed that working for the same client full time for several years entitled her to full employment rights has lost her battle in the CA. In James v London Borough of Greenwich, Ms James worked for Greenwich Council for four years as a housing support worker. She was placed with the Council by an employment agency with whom the Council had entered into a contract for the provision of temporary workers. Ms James had a “temporary worker agreement” with the agency but had not entered into an express contract with the Council. After returning from a period of sick leave, Ms James was told by the Council her services were no longer required, as the agency had provided a replacement. She attempted to bring a claim for unfair dismissal against the Council, but the Tribunal and EAT held that she could not bring an unfair dismissal claim, as she was not an employee of the Council. Ms James appealed to the CA. The CA held that a contract of employment could be implied between an agency worker and the end user of his or her services only on the grounds of necessity to give business reality. As Ms James’ work for the Council and the Council’s provision of work for her could all be explained by the express contractual relationships in place, it was not necessary to imply a contract of employment in this case. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the CA’s judgment represents a triumph for common sense. The decision suggests that, assuming employment agency arrangements are genuine, it will be difficult to establish in future that agency workers are employees of the end user.
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Agency worker denied full employment rights
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