A tribunal ruling which has awarded employment status to a contractor could have far reaching repercussions for the thousands of contractors in the UK.

An Employment Tribunal in Watford has found that Andrew Tilson, who was paid by Alstom Transport through both a limited company and a separate payroll organisation, should be regarded as an employee of the firm under the Employment Rights Act 1996. As such, Tilson then has the rights of all employees under the Act, including the right to claim unfair dismissal.

Alstom had claimed that Tilson was self employed as he worked through a limited company and therefore did not have an employment contract.

Tilson was represented by Mark Sahu of Harold Benjamin. He was successful in his argument that the factors which determined Tilson’s employment status were the work that he carried out on behalf of the company and the way in which this work was structured, not the fact that he paid his own income tax and National Insurance contributions

The Tribunal judge found in favour of Tilson, as he stated that he and Alstom had a close working proximity and that was they key factor in determining his employment status as an employee.

Cyril Dennemont, Partner and Head of Employment at Harold Benjamin Solicitors said, “This is a significant judgement as it followed the latest Court of Appeal guidelines on employee status, as reviewed in James v Greenwich Borough Council. Having been promoted to a senior managerial position in March 2006, the work he did and the wide range of duties and responsibilities he had for the company and the manner in which he was supervised on a day to day basis meant that, in effect, he was deemed to be an employee.”

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