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    Style or substance; do labels matter?

    Style or substance; do labels matter?

    As we emerge from lockdown, a highlight for many of us has been finally getting our own locks trimmed, dyed and styled in a much deserved (and often needed!) trip to the hairdresser or barber. Embracing your new surroundings outside the comfort of your four walls, you might notice lots of things you once took for granted.

    For employment lawyers and HR professionals though, and courtesy of the Manchester Tribunal in Meghan Gorman's claim against former employer Terence Paul, we can now sit and ponder the employment status of our trusted stylist.

    The beauty industry, in common with lots of others has long relied on the ‘self employed’. We all know of the high profile cases like Uber and Pimlico Plumbers where that label has been successfully challenged and ‘worker’ status has been determined (subject of course to the likes of the Uber case being appealed - it’s in the Supreme Court today for its last hurrah).

    But this latest case goes one step further, demonstrating that the Tribunals are prepared to look beyond the label to determine where there genuinely is an employment relationship. It’s not just something for the big corporates to think about either because, as Ms Gorman's case shows, the rules apply to businesses large and small.

    With employment status comes protection from unfair dismissal and redundancy, amongst other things, so every reason for the disgruntled contractor or worker to have a pop at a claim.

    We know that you’ve got a lot on your plate but with upcoming IR35 changes in April next year alongside the latest Tribunal decision, now would be a good time to reconsider whether your ‘self employed’ workforce can genuinely be called that. If nothing else though, don’t cut contractors loose in these difficult times without assessing the reality of the situation first; now more than ever is the time to avoid a close shave so if help is what you need, give us a call.

    Oh, and keep an eye out for that Uber decision.

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