It’s Hailing Taxis Again.

Following on from our bulletin regarding the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, there has been a further important decision relating to the employment status of “gig economy” workers where the Tribunal has held that three Addison Lee drivers are workers.

Factors that led to this decision included that the drivers had to hire an Addison Lee car, comply with a dress code and were unable to refuse jobs once logged into the booking system. The impact of this decision will mean that their 3,800 drivers must receive the minimum wage plus holiday pay, and will be owed back pay. Whilst Addison Lee is reviewing the decision, there will now be a further hearing in the Employment Tribunal to calculate the holiday and pay that the drivers should receive.

The judgment is the latest legal setback for companies operating in the “gig economy” and we eagerly await the outcome of the appeal against a similar ruling against minicab operator Uber which was heard at the Employment Appeal Tribunal last week.

We also recently received some clarification from the Court of Appeal regarding what constitutes a disclosure “in the public interest” in the case of Chestertons and another v Nurmohamed and another (see our previous bulletin). Here, Chestertons were appealing the EAT judgment that Mr Nurmohamed’s disclosure about his employer was protected even though the employer was not a public body and the disclosure was not of interest to the public.

The Court of Appeal judges dismissed the appeal upholding the tribunal’s decision, stating that public interest can concern only a small group of people. In the judgement, they outlined the following as key factors which should be considered in such a case:

  • The number of individuals whose interests the disclosure serves;
  • The importance of the matter being disclosed;
  • Whether the wrongdoing being complained of is deliberate;
  • The prominence of the wrongdoer.

Employers should therefore carefully consider these factors when determining whether complaints by employees could be considered as being “in the public interest” and therefore qualify for whistleblowing protection.

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