The self-employed and the Equality Act 2010

The EAT recently held in Halawi v World Duty Free that the Equality Act 2010 did not apply to Ms Halawi who provided services to World Duty Free through a limited Company.  In order for the Equality Act to apply a contract personally to do the work was required and in this case the Claimant had not entered into any contract in her own right with the Respondent.

When the EAT examined the contract they held that there was no employment relationship.  An unfettered right of substitution existed in the contract and in this case she had gone further and even exercised this on occasion.  There was no subordination as there was no control over her or any economic dependency on her part.

The EAT did however express its view that the situation was unsatisfactory as the Claimant had no right to complain to an Employment Tribunal notwithstanding the merit or otherwise of her complaint.  She did not get out of the starting block.

Whilst not surprising this decision highlights the importance of getting the right contracts in place.  In this case there was no suggestion the contractual position was anything other than genuine but the contracts in place not only presumably served their purpose for taxation for genuine self-employment but prevented the Claimant having a wealth of rights the end user did not intend them to have as an employee.

Written by
Edward Aston
17th January 2014

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