Employment status case Addison Lee Limited v Gascoigne

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has rejected Addison Lee’s appeal in the employment status case Addison Lee Limited v Gascoigne, by upholding the decision that a courier was incorrectly classified as an independent contractor.


Section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), defines a ‘worker’ as an individual who has entered into or works under a contract ‘whether express or implied… whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual.’ Individuals who meet this definition are known as ‘limb (b) workers.’


Addison Lee are a taxi and courier firm, who were initially taken to an Employment Tribunal (ET) by Christopher Gascoigne in August 2017. Gascoigne worked as a cycle courier for Addison Lee for nine years and argued that he was a limb (b) worker and therefore, entitled to greater employment rights, such as holiday pay.


Initially, the ET heard that although Addison Lee labelled Gascoigne as an ‘independent contractor’ in his written contract, this did not truly reflect the reality of Gascoigne’s working relationship.


Addison Lee appealed this decision by disputing that Gascoigne was a limb (b) worker and claimed that he was under no obligation to accept any job and could accept work offered to him when he logged onto the Company’s system. The Tribunal also heard that Gascoigne had to re-sign his contract every three months, terms of which included Gascoigne agreeing to be an independent contractor only.


The EAT dismissed Addison Lee’s appeal, referring to the fact that Gascoigne stated he has to accept a job ‘otherwise you get in a tricky situation’ and Gascoigne’s location was mostly controlled in order for him to be placed well for deliveries throughout the day. Furthermore, the EAT raised that Gascoigne had to perform the job ‘personally’ because he had to have clearance from the Disclosure Barring Service.


Ultimately, the EAT upheld the ET’s ruling that there was no basis to challenge the ET’s assessment of Gascoigne as having limb (b) employment status.


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