Organisations could face unfair dismissal claims from temporary workers
after the Court of Appeal ruled that employers could be held liable for agency
In Dacas v Brook Street, the Court of Appeal said an employment appeal
tribunal was wrong to conclude that a disgruntled temporary worker was employed
by the recruitment agency.
Dacas, a cleaner for Wandsworth Council through the Brook Street Bureau
agency, claimed unfair dismissal against both organisations after four year’s
Jonathan Chamberlain, a partner at law firm Wragge & Co, said the
decision fundamentally changes the employment triangle between temporary staff,
firms and agencies and entitles temporary workers to employment rights after
only one year of service.
"Any employer that has large numbers of long-term temporary staff will
have to review these arrangements,: Chamberlain said.
"This area is crying out for legislation as the judges have gone as far
as they can," he added.
Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development, said employers must carefully consider their
relationship with agency workers.
He warned that companies could face claims such as unfair dismissal if
temporary workers were integrated into the workforce through appraisal systems,
company uniforms or day-to-day duties.
"This is a grey area at the moment. Employers can take steps to manage
the situation, such as ensuring the agency has given the employee a written
contract," Willmott added.