Supreme Court Decision allows “workers” to pursue employment claims

In recent landmark decision, the Supreme Court decided a worker for the purposes of employment legislation has certain rights similar to an employee.

In Clyde & Co LLP and another -v- Bates van Winkelhof, the worker was eligible to bring a whistleblowing claim and she had protection.  She reported to Clyde & Co LLP that the managing director to whom she was seconded had admitted to her that he paid bribes to secure work.  She was subsequently dismissed from the firm to whom she was seconded and expelled from the partnership.  She brought various claims in the Employment Tribunal against Clyde & Co LLP, which included a claim under the whistleblowing legislation.

The ruling means that companies and LLP’s can be exposed to the risk of claims from dissatisfied workers and partners as well as employees.  The decision should however, encourage businesses to manage whistleblowing sensitively and appropriately.  A whistleblowing policy should be put in place and all workers and staff should be made aware of the policy.  Relevant managerial staff should also receive training in the application of the policy and on how to deal with complaints from staff.

Please contact one of our Employment Law solicitors for advice on any employment issues whether relating to contracts, policies, procedures or whistleblowing issues.  We are happy to provide a complimentary review of your contracts and suggest any amendments that we consider would help to protect your business.  If you do not have all necessary contracts, policies and procedures in place, please contact Tracey Guest, Head of Employment direct on 0161 975 3823.