This week in the case of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another (Appellants) v Smith (Respondent)  UKSC 29,the Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd (PP) against an earlier decision of the Employment Tribunal in relation to the worker status of Mr Gary Smith, a plumbing and heating engineer. The Supreme Court decided that a Tribunal judge was entitled to find that Mr Smith was both ‘in employment’ for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and a ‘worker’ under the Working Time Regulations 1998, guaranteeing him the right to paid annual leave. Jennifer Sole and Jessica Bass, with assistance from our intern Jasmine Doust, summarise the decision:
Mr Smith worked for PP, a large plumbing business based in London and owned by the Second Appellant, Mr Charlie Mullins, between August 2005 and April 2011.
In 2011, Mr Smith began proceedings at the Employment Tribunal following his allegation that unlawful deductions had been made to his wages, that he had not been paid for his statutory annual leave, and he had been discriminated against by virtue of his disability. The judge found that Mr Smith was a worker.
PP and Mr Mullins appealed first to an appeals tribunal, and then to the Court of Appeal, to no avail. In February 2018, their appeal was heard by the Supreme Court, whom they asked to resolve the issue of whether Mr Smith was a ‘worker’ who had undertaken to personally perform his work or services for PP, or whether he was their client or customer.