The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held in the case of Bates Van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co LLP that an equity partner of a Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”) can be a ‘worker’ for the purposes of bringing a whistle-blowing claim.

What does this mean?

An equity partner in a LLP will be able to pursue a whistle-blowing claim if they can show that they have entered into, or worked under, a contract through which they undertook to do or perform personally work or services for another party to the contract. It is also necessary that the contract does not make that other party a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking which the individual in question carries on.

In this case the individual was working for the benefit of the partnership as well as for her own benefit. Her remuneration was guaranteed at a certain level in addition to her entitlement to a profit related element as an equity partner.

What should employers do?

Partnerships, including LLPs, should be aware that some of the legal protection for workers may extend to partners and LLP members.