Employers have been warned to examine their employment relationships with
temporary workers and the agencies that supply them following a landmark
decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The EAT ruled in favour of a temporary worker Dacas, who had claimed unfair
dismissal after her contract with Wandsworth Borough Council, where she had
been working for six years on assignment through Brook Street Bureau, was
terminated without notice.
Dacas’s claim for unfair dismissal was rejected by an employment tribunal on
the grounds that she was neither an employee of the agency nor an employee of
Wandsworth Borough Council.
The EAT overturned this decision in favour of Dacas, ruling that she had indeed
been unfairly dismissed by the employment agency Brook Street Bureau.
Makbool Javaid, partner at law firm DLA, said the decision showed that
courts will increasingly look to the reality of the relationship between
employer and worker to determine whether there is a contract of employment or a
contract to provide services.
Javaid warned that in other cases, the EAT might well find that the employer
rather than agency is the temporary worker’s actual ’employer’.
"It is clear that the courts will not allow a situation to arise where
the individual is left with no remedy and is caught in limbo, where neither the
agency nor the employer has responsibility," said Javaid.