Supreme Court unanimously rules against Pimlico Plumbers Ltd

The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the appeal by Pimlico Plumbers in its landmark gig economy case.

The highest court in the land decided that the tribunal was entitled to conclude that Mr Smith (the plumber in the legal action) qualified as a ‘worker’ under s.230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (and by analogy the relevant provisions of the Working Time Regulations 1998 and the Equality Act 2010).

This is despite Mr Smith paying self-employed tax and being VAT registered. Today’s ruling means that an employment tribunal can now proceed to examine the plumbers action against Pimlico Plumbers as a worker, including a claim that he was unfairly dismissed.

The judgment is expected to influence the outcome of long-running gig-economy cases, including those with Uber and Addison Lee, which involve a battle over employment status.


What do you think of the ruling? Please drop us a line here or in the comments below.

What does the decision mean? Good thread here:

“This decision is not necessarily a win for “gig economy” workers seeking to challenge their employment status.” Pimlico’s plumbers do not operate a gig model and the implications for Uber, City Sprint, Deliveroo etc may be limited, although the publicity around this case may encourage other “self employed” contractors to challenge their legal status,” says Alan Lewis, Partner at Irwin Mitchell.

However, ‘there may be legislative changes to come, which could change everything …’

Or a tsunami of claims, says Charlie Mullins OBE, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd:

What do you think of the ruling? Please drop us a line here or in the comments below.

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