The Supreme Court has started hearing the case of Pimlico Plumbers Limited (“Pimlico”) and Another v Smith. Mr Smith originally brought a Tribunal claim against Pimlico after he suffered a heart attack and claimed that he was subsequently dismissed by Pimlico. Mr Smith commenced proceedings in the Tribunal claiming unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and disability discrimination. The Tribunal decided that Mr Smith was not an employee, but that he was a worker. Accordingly, he enjoyed the basic employment rights associated with worker status, for example, the right to the national minimum wage and paid holidays. The Tribunal also found that his working situation met the definition of “employment” in the Equality Act 2010 and he was therefore also able to bring claims for discrimination against Pimlico.
Pimlico’s appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and subsequently to the Court of Appeal were dismissed. The case is now being heard by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s judgment will be extremely important as it will set a precedent for other similar disputes in the so called “gig economy”, such as the dispute between Uber and its drivers.