The Employment Tribunal in Boxer –v- Excel Group Services Limited has decided that a cycle courier, who was previously labelled as self employed, was actually a worker.
The case follows previous legal action brought by individuals involved in the “gig economy” concerning employment status. The recent rise of companies relying upon the use of self employed individuals has brought a spotlight on employment status with many individuals challenging their status in a bid for recognition of basic employment rights such as paid holidays and payment of the National Minimum Wage.
Boxer itself does not create legal precedent but it does add to the growing bank of case law which may be relevant to future determinations of employment status. In particular, the Tribunal found that a limited right of substitution was not inconsistent with worker status relying upon the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal in Pimlico Plumbers Limited where individual plumbers were found to be workers and not self employed contractors.
In general, this case reminds employers that factors including the requirement of individuals to be available for work, ability to take time off and acceptance of risk are relevant to the determination of employment status and not merely the label placed on the relationship.