Cycle courier ruling ‘opens flood gates’ says Nottingham solicitor

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Jayne Harrison, partner at Cleggs Solicitors

Firms can no longer claim bicycle couriers who are working to strict conditions are self-employed following a recent court case, says a Nottingham lawyer.

A tribunal has ruled in the recent Dewhurst v CitySprint UK Ltd that a bicycle courier was a ‘worker’ of the courier firm for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996 – despite the contractual documents describing her as a self-employed contractor.

Jayne Harrison, head of employment law, from Wilford based Cleggs Solicitors commented that the tribunal noted that the very title of the contract, which described it as a tender document, aroused suspicion that it was the work of an ‘army of lawyers’, and that the reality of the worker’s working conditions made it clear that she was integrated into CS Ltd’s business.

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“This new ruling will open the floodgates for other so called self-employed workers who may have the same rights as a contracted employee,” Jayne said.

“I think we will see the flood gates opened following the decision which was made at the London Central Employment Tribunal. In this case, the worker was expected to work when she said she would, she was given directions throughout her day, she was told to smile and wear a uniform, and she was informed when she would be paid and how much, according to CitySprint Ltd’s calculations.

“It was ultimately found that she was not working for herself but on CitySprint Ltd’s behalf. The law on worker status has set a new precedent and other firms must follow suit.”

The case further supports a ruling in favour of Uber workers last year to claim employment protections.

Cleggs Solicitors is based in Wilford, Nottingham and specialises in providing legal services to commercial and private clients in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, the East Midlands and beyond.

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