Augustine v Econnect Cars Ltd UKEAT/0231/18/OO

Appeal against the ET’s findings that the Claimant was a “worker” but not an “employee”, that the Claimant was not a “part-time worker” and that the Claimant’s treatment at the end of the relationship was not for any prohibited reason. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant was a private hire car driver for the Respondent. His hours were highly flexible and determined by him, not the Respondent. When the Respondent introduced new arrangements for the scheme whereby drivers could use the cars rent-free, the Claimant said it was no longer viable for him to continue working for the Respondent, and he brought claims in the ET including for unfair dismissal, detriments for having made protected public interest disclosures, and less favourable treatment under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 ("2000 Regulations"). The ET decided that the Claimant was not an "employee" but he was a "worker" within section 230(3)(a) Employment Rights Act 1996, and it decided that the Claimant was not a part-time worker with reg 2(2) of the 2000 Regulations because he was not paid "at least partly by reference to time worked"; it also concluded that the Claimant was not dismissed because of the protected disclosure that he made. The Claimant appealed.

The EAT held that the ET had not erred in its treatment of the issue of employee or worker status, or in relation to detriment; however, it held that the ET had erred in applying to the Claimant the definition of a part-time worker in the 2000 Regulations, since he was paid in part by reference to the amount of his working time. Accordingly, the EAT substituted a finding that the Claimant was a part-time worker within the 2000 Regulations, and the remaining issues arising in his claim of less favourable treatment would be remitted and determined by the same ET if possible.

Published: 03/01/2020 15:41

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