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Peter Linstead successfully defends MyTaxi in Employment Tribunal

Peter Linstead recently appeared in the Employment Tribunal for the Respondent in Mr Christopher Johnson v MyTaxi Network Ltd 2303018.

The background

The Claimant in this action worked full-time as a Black Cab driver in London between 2014 and 2016. In February 2017, the Claimant downloaded the driver version of “Mytaxi”, a mobile application that connects Black Cab drivers and passengers. Excluding the “odd trip” in April, the Claimant didn’t actively use the app until the end of July 2017 and made no further trips after 18th April 2018.

The claim

The Claimant in this action claimed protected disclosure detriment, holiday pay, unlawful deduction of wages and failure to pay the national minimum wage. The two preliminary issues to be decided by Judge Balogun were:

  1. Whether at the relevant time, the claimant was a Limb b worker and if so;
  2. What counted as working time for the purposes of the WTR and NMWA

With respect to answering (i) Judge Balogun noted it was essential to decide who the claimant was providing the services for and under what contract, as for the Claimant to be a limb b worker, the “individual must personally perform the services for another party to the contract” (para 59). With respect to this agency issue, Judge Balogan agreed with the Respondent; concluding that the Respondent was not the agent of the Claimant. Instead, the passengers contracted with the Respondent for the transportation services and “these [services] were delivered by the Claimant pursuant to a separate contract with the Respondent” (para 65).

After analysing the Claimant’s work statistics, Judge Balogan also found that it was clear the Respondent was not the Claimant’s main source of income and that he didn’t need to sign up to the App to work. Consequently, it was adjudged not to be a dependent work relationship as in envisaged in Cotswold Development Construction Ltd v Williams [2006] IRLR 181. 

Finally, Judge Balogan found that the Respondent lacked the requisite degree of control over the Claimant, with the Claimant’s independence in this regard being “more consistent with an independent contractor” than a “self-employed person fully integrated into the Respondent’s business” (para 77).

The outcome

In light of this reasoning, Judge Balogan found the Claimant was not a worker of the Respondent pursuant to the Employment Rights Act 1996, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Working Time Regulations 1998, with all claims dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

Read the full judgment here.

Find out more

Peter Linstead works as a barrister in our Employment & Discrimination Law team.

To find out more, contact Nick Levett +44 (0)20 7427 4908 or Adam Macdonald +44 (0)20 7427 4906 for a confidential discussion.

News, Employment 27 Jul, 2020

Authors

Peter Linstead

Call: 1994

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