Plumber, Gary Smith, today (13 June) won a legal battle for working rights in a Supreme Court ruling expected to have huge ramifications for the gig economy.
Supreme Court judges found that plumber Gary Smith, who worked for London-based Pimlico Plumbers between August 2005 and April 2011, wasn’t self-employed or a client of the firm, giving him the right to sue the company under discrimination laws.
Uber and other app-based firms will be watching the ruling with interest as they face similar legal challenges over the way they treat employees. Uber’s appeal of a decision granting its drivers benefits including overtime and paid vacation is scheduled to be heard by another court 30 October 2018.
“This welcome decision clarifies how people in the gig economy fit into the workplace and recognises the importance of the third status of “worker”. It is a good day for employment relations as it will be easier to distinguish a worker from an employee and a self-employed person. It should discourage employers from trying to create artificial structures for engaging their staff and provide workers with the dignity – and the rights – that a recognised status brings.” said Stephen Morrall, an employment specialist at Hunters Solicitors.