Gascoigne is another in the growing line of Gig Economy cases. Mr Gascoigne was a cycle courier who had worked for AL for 9 years. He argued that he was a “limb (b) worker”. His claim was for one week’s holiday pay when he had taken holiday but not been paid.
Mr Gascoigne had a short interview in 2008 and met a Controller for about 10 minutes. Controllers allocate jobs to couriers, track progress by radio and GPS and deal with queries. Each courier has a call sign allocated by AL. Mr Gascoigne considerd that he was offered a job and “worked” for AL. His start was delayed by the need for a DBS check to be carried out. Mr Gascoigne had a series of contracts which were refreshed every three months by way of an electronic signature.
Mr Gascoigne was given a lot of flexibility and in addition to his cycling did some paid gardening work for a neighbor and sometimes went on tour with his band. In order to receive work Mr Gascoigne needed to be logged into the AL system and if he undertook more than 70 jobs a week he received a bonus. He was not able to determine the price paid per job and in between jobs he was expected to be in an area approved by his controller. If he was paid in cash by a customer, he would give them an AL receipt.
AL produced each week a “Combined invoice / Statement" and Mr Gascoigne had no input into the figures.
The Employment Tribunal in reaching its conclusion that Mr Gascoigne was a limb (b) worker and entitled to be paid holiday pay noted the following points
- The recruitment page of the website said “we are proud of our couriers – we’d love you to be part of that,
- The parties worked together as a team, Mr Gascoigne was expected to work for AL under its direction when logged onto the system,
- He performed the work personally,
- The written contract did not portray the relationship correctly,
- He was required to undertake the work personally, and
- He was under the direction of another and was not running his own business.
Whilst the Tribunal’s decision does not shed any new light on the matters that a Tribunal will take into account, it does amply demonstrate the importance of ensuring that the written contract reflects the reality of the situation. It also demonstrates that whilst those who are working in the gig economy may not be employees they may well be workers with entitlements to holiday pay, national minimum wage, pension etc.
Individual Tribunal claims of this nature may not be significant but they generally signal unrest within a workforce exposing an “employer” to much greater liability to the wider workforce. In order to protect their business / understand their potential exposure employers should seek expert advice on the implications of any relationships with long term individual contractors.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.