Protection for contract employees

This week’s case round up

MHC Consulting Services v Tansell, IRLB 630, EAT

• Tansell was a computer consultant and through his company intelligents
provided computer services to third parties. MHC had a contract to supply
computer personnel to Abbey Life and agreed terms with intelligents to supply
Tansell’s services to them. Tansell alleged his services were rejected by Abbey
Life because of his disability and brought a claim against both MHC and Abbey

The tribunal held that Tansell was not employed by MHC or Abbey Life, nor
was he a contract worker for Abbey Life. His claim could proceed against MHC as
principal because of its direct contractual relationship with Intelligents.

Both MHC and Tansell appealed. The EAT allowed both appeals and held that
whenever there was an unbroken chain of contracts between the individual and
the end-user, the end-user was the "principal" even though there was
no contractual relationship between it and the employer. The claim would
proceed against Abbey Life only, which was given leave to appeal to the Court
of Appeal.

Refusal to allow part-time working was discriminatory

Feeney v IPC Magazines, EOR Digest 42, December 1999, Employment Tribunal

• Feeney worked full-time as an advertisement promotions manager but asked
to work three days a week after her childminder said she could work only
part-time. Feeney’s manager was concerned at the "lack of continuity"
with clients and rejected the request but agreed to consider a job-share

After several weeks no decision had been made and when Feeney learned the
request was still being considered she resigned. The same day the company
confirmed it would not agree to a job share because of the extra work involved
for the rest of the department.

Feeney’s claim of indirect sex discrimination was upheld. The requirement to
work full-time was one that she could not satisfy at the time because the
childminder would work only part-time. The requirement was not justified
because it was common in the organisation for people to job share and it ought
to have allowed a trial period to see if the job share worked.

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