Mingeley v Pennock & Ivory (trading as Amber Cars), EAT, 2004, All ER (D) 132

Taxi driver not ’employed’: Mingeley worked as a taxi driver for Amber Cars. The terms of his [unwritten] contract included that he would provide his own vehicle, his hours were at his discretion and there was no requirement to notify Amber Cars if he took holidays or was sick. He kept all fares but paid £75 per week for the use of the firm’s radio/computer system. If he wanted a substitute driver for his vehicle, an additional £75 fee also had to be paid. He had to wear a uniform and was subject to the firm’s code of conduct for drivers.

Mingeley brought a claim of racial discrimination, alleging that he was treated less favourably than drivers of different ethnic origin in the allocation of work. The tribunal found that Mingeley was not an employee within the definition in s78(1) Race Relations Act 1976 (employed “under a contract of service… or a contract personally to execute any work or labour”) and dismissed his claim. Mingeley’s appeal was dismissed by the EAT. The Court of Appeal also dismissed his appeal. Applying the relevant authorities, the tribunal had correctly concluded that to fall within s78, the contract had to place Mingeley under an obligation to personally execute work. Mingeley was not obliged to carry out any duties at all and this therefore placed him outside the provisions of the Act.

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