The Hospital Medical Group v Westwood [2012] EWCA Civ 1005

The Court of Appeal has held that a doctor who carried out hair restoration work for HMG Ltd on a self-employed independent contractor basis was nonetheless a “worker” within the meaning of section 203(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The appeal had been granted as an opportunity for the Court of Appeal to give some guidance as to a uniform approach to identifying “worker” status. The Court of Appeal rejected the notion that any such universal approach could be formulated. However, it indicated that the “integration” test set out by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Cotswold Developments Construction Ltd v Williams would often be appropriate.

Implications

This decision clearly emphasises that a determination of whether an individual is a “worker” for the purposes of employment protection (including rights to holiday and the unlawful deductions regime) will be highly dependant on the facts of each particular case. However, it gives judicial weight to the argument that, in many cases, a focus upon whether the individual actively markets his services to the world in general, or instead is recruited by the principal to work for it as an integral part of its operations, will be an appropriate test.