Pimlico Plumbers v Smith appeal judgment will help workers in the gig economy

Published: 10 Feb 2017

A ruling from the Court of Appeal today will help protect the rights of workers employed in the ‘gig economy’.

The Court of Appeal today ruled in favour of Gary Smith, employed by Pimlico Plumbers as an 'independent contractor', who claimed disability pay from the company after a heart attack ruled him out of work. An Employment Tribunal agreed with his claim and that he should be protected by equality law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has funded Mr Smith’s case.

Pimlico Plumbers employ over one hundred workers as independent contractors, while requiring them to wear their uniform and drive branded vehicles, giving the impression they are permanent employees of the company.

Commenting on the successful case against Pimlico Plumbers Equality and Human Rights Commission Chief Executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said:

“This judgment will help workers who are incorrectly described as contractors by the companies they work for. Companies will no longer be able to avoid their duty to provide workers with support such as sickness benefits.

“We are delighted with today’s ruling and hope that businesses ensure that they give proper contracts to people who should have worker status.”

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