EAT rejects Addison Lee’s appeal in employment status case

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has dismissed an appeal by taxi and courier organisation Addison Lee regarding employment status, judging that a courier was incorrectly classified as an independent contractor.

In the case, Addison Lee v Gascoigne, brought by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the Central London Employment Tribunal (ET) ruled in August 2017 that former courier Chris Gascoigne had been misclassified as self-employed, and that the organisation had therefore failed to pay him for holiday.

The tribunal found that the working relationship between Gascoigne and Addison Lee classed him as a limb b worker, rather than an independent contractor.

Addison Lee appealed firstly on the grounds that there was no basis to conclude that Gascoigne was under obligation to accept jobs, and secondly that there were factual errors in the tribunal’s assessment of him as a limb b worker.

The EAT rejected both grounds of the appeal. It judged that the ET’s decision that there was a contract with mutual obligations that applied during the employee’s log-on periods was unimpeachable. It also found that there was no basis to challenge the ET’s assessment of Gascoigne as having limb b employment status.

In September 2017, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled against Addison Lee in a similar case: Lang, Olszeski and Morahan v Addison Lee. It found that the three claimants had been misclassified and were therefore entitled to greater employment rights, including holiday pay.

Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary at IWGB, said: “For anyone who has the vaguest awareness of employment law, the fact that Addison Lee has lost its appeal will come as no surprise. The real shocker is that, even though tribunal after tribunal after tribunal has shown that [organkisations] in the so-called ‘gig economy’ are unlawfully depriving their workers of rights, the government still does nothing but talk.”

An Addison Lee spokesperson stated: “We will study the ruling carefully before making any decisions on next steps.”