Good morning and welcome back to your weekly case law update. Last week we looked at limitation dates. That case concerned a parcel delivery company DHL and coincidently one of our cases this week concerns another company involved in transport, taxi firm, Addison Lee. This week we have two cases, one on employment status and another on race and religious discrimination.

Our first case is an employment status case about sham self-employment as part of the gig economy, this is a case we previously covered at ET level. At ET level the ET found Addison Lee couriers/drivers were workers because they had to follow Addison Lee management instructions, had rules about dress codes and conversation etiquette and had to drive a branded vehicle. They also required a DBS check which showed that the work must be performed personally. Addison Lee appealed.

The EAT dismissed the appeal citing that whilst logged into the Addison Lee app the couriers/drivers had little choice about what work they did and how they did it. The fact their contracts said self-employed did not reflect the true nature of the agreement.

Whilst this case provides further evidence the courts are trying to address the employment status debate at common law level – through sensible judicial decisions – there has yet to be any implementation of the Taylor Report meaning the future of this this area of law is still a grey area.

Currently judgments such as this should be followed. However, the landscape for employment status could be completely different when/if the Government implements any policy following the Taylor Report – there might even be new types of employment status between self-employment and worker.

At present the situation is that if the working arrangement resembles employee or worker then that is what the person shall be, regardless of what their contract says. If it looks like dog, walks like a dog and barks like a dog then it’s a dog – the same goes for quacking ducks!