Decision upheld by EAT in Addison Lee worker status case

An Addison Lee cycle courier who has been in and out of court challenging his employment status has won the latest round of his legal fight, after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld his claim that he should be classed as a ‘worker’ as opposed to self-employed.

Mr Gascoigne first took his case to an Employment Tribunal back in August 2017, arguing that he had been ‘mis-classified’ as self-employed and that Addison Lee had failed to provide him with holiday pay during the time he had worked for them.

The Central London Employment Tribunal found in the worker’s favour after evidence revealed that he was ‘under obligation’ to accept jobs provided by Addison Lee and that his contract with the London-based taxi and courier firm was characterised by a mutuality of obligation.

In recent days, however, Addison Lee has attempted – albeit unsuccessfully – to challenge the ruling at the EAT.

Re-examining the case, the EAT found that although Mr Gascoigne was described as an ‘independent contractor’ in his contract with the company, the working relationship he had with Addison Lee clearly did not reflect this.

It added that it was clear that the worker would find himself in a “tricky situation” with the company if ever he failed to accept a job.

Commenting, Dr Jason Moyer-Lee of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) said that the EAT’s decision to uphold the previous ruling came “as no surprise.”

He added: “The real shocker is that, even though tribunal after tribunal after tribunal has shown that companies in the so-called ‘gig economy’ are unlawfully depriving their workers of rights, the Government still does nothing but talk.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson on behalf of Addison Lee, said: “We will study the ruling carefully before making any decisions on next steps.”

For advice on employment law matters in regards to worker status, including defending or pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim, please contact Andrew Firman or Kate Boguslawska or visit our website.