Frettens advise in key taxi worker status case

Frettens acted for local company United Taxis in a key case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in March of this year.

Thanks to the assistance of our specialist Employment Team, the client received a successful result as the claimant involved was held not to be a worker or employee of United Taxis.

How were Frettens involved?

At the original hearing, Mr Comolly, who drove for United Taxis through an agreement with one of the company’s shareholders, brought a multitude of claims to the tribunal after his relationship with the shareholder ultimately ended.

Those claims included unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, age discrimination, failure to pay holiday and more.

However, these claims were temporarily put to one side at an early stage as it was brought into consideration whether the claimant was an employee or worker of United Taxis, the shareholder, both, or neither.

The employment tribunal found that Mr Comolly was an employee of the shareholder and a worker for United Taxis, a judgement based on an interpretation of recent case law, notably Uber. United Taxis instructed Frettens to appeal this decision.

What was the outcome at the appeal?

At the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Frettens assisted United Taxis in appealing the original judgement on the basis that an individual cannot be an employee of one employer and a worker of another in respect of the same work.

Ultimately, the appeal was successful, and it was concluded that Mr Comolly was not a worker or employee of United Taxis. In fact, the tribunal found that the claimant was instead only a worker of Mr Tidman, the shareholder.

As a separate point, it was also ruled that the original tribunal had incorrectly found that a commercial contract had to be implied between Mr Comolly and United Taxis on the facts of the case.

Managing Partner Matthew Fretten on the result

“We’re grateful to have been entrusted by United Taxis to head up their appeal in such a landmark case and are pleased that the outcome went in their favour.” said Matthew Fretten.

“This case is a great example of the type of complex matters we have been seeing more of for our commercial clients.”

Implications for wider case law

Chris Dobbs, Employment Solicitor, said: “Outside of the positive impact that this decision has for the client, the outcome also has wider implications and sets the precedent for similar case law on worker status; particularly in the taxi sector.

We have had many high-profile cases in recent years in the sector, the biggest one being the widely reported Supreme Court decision of Uber v Aslam. The EAT decision in our case will hopefully at least give comfort to many taxi firms that the typical business model they use will not result in all of their drivers being employees or workers.”

Employment & HR Solicitors

Our bright Employment Team has a vast experience in advising employers in cases of all kinds.

We’d be happy to provide tailored advice and assist you in mitigating, preventing and fighting claims, such as unfair dismissal.

You can call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a free initial appointment.

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We also offer a range of tailored Employment Training Courses for new and experienced employers and HR professionals alike, which may be useful to you.

You can find out more here.

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