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Employment Status

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[Thanks to Ed McFarlane of EEF for providing this case summary]

The EAT (Silber J presiding) has handed down Judgment in the case of Community Dental Centres Ltd v Sultan-Darmon which is authority for the proposition that an unfettered right of substitution in a contract is fatal to worker status.

The Claimant, a dentist, brought an unlawful deductions claim against his Practice. It was agreed that he was not an employee, but the Tribunal found he was a worker. On appeal, the EAT held that the Claimant's right of substitution meant that he could not be a worker, because he was not obliged to "perform personally any work or services" within the meaning of s230(3) Employment Rights Act 1996, and dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction.

The EAT took pains to get its teeth into a range of authorities on worker status and preferred the Byrne Brothers (Formwork) Ltd v Baird line (a working time case) to Redrow Homes (Yorkshire) Ltd v Buckborough. It extracted the principle that where a genuine right of substitution exists, there cannot be worker status. It was not sufficient that the individual might be obliged to personally find a substitute; that analysis (as in Redrow Homes) was inconsistent with established authorities.