The recent stream of cases dealing with worker status have focused on whether individuals who have been providing services to organisations are deemed to be workers rather than self-employed contractors, and therefore entitled to National Minimum Wage, holiday pay and pension contributions.
Another potential issue that could arise if an individual is deemed to be a worker is that they have rights to bring claims for discrimination and have protection under the whistleblowing legislation. This is highlighted in the current case brought by Hayley Stanley, a transgender van driver who is bringing a claim against a courier company, Gnewt Cargo.
The Equality Act defines ’employment’ as employment:
- under a contract of employment
- a contract of apprenticeship, or
- a contract personally to do work.
Therefore, this will encompass employees, workers and a wider category of individuals who are self-employed provided that their employment contract obliges them to perform work personally.
Organisations should be aware that the influx of claims being brought in the gig economy could give rise to claims for discrimination and whistleblowing.