• Robert Spicer

Contract of employment: worker: Supreme Court decision in Pimlico Plumbers



Case Pimlico Plumbers and another v Smith (2018) The Times, June 19, Supreme Court

Facts The employment tribunal ruled that S, a plumbing and heating engineer, was a worker for Pimlico. It therefore had jurisdiction to consider his complaints of unlawful deduction of wages, failure to provide holiday pay and disability discrimination. This decision was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. Pimlico appealed to the Supreme Court.

Decision 1. The appeal was dismissed.

  1. The employment tribunal had been entitled to conclude that S, who worked for a company which exerted a substantial measure of control over its operatives while declaring that they were self-employed, had been a worker whose claims could proceed.

  2. The dominant feature of S’s contract with Pimlico was an obligation of personal performance.

  3. Pimlico’s tight control over S was reflected in its requirements that he should wear the branded Pimlico uniform, drive its branded van to which Pimlico applied a tracker to carry its identity card , and closely follow the administrative instructions of its control room.

  4. The contract between Pimlico and S made references to wages, gross misconduct and dismissal and contained a number of restrictive covenants.

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