April 28, 2017

Determining Employment Status

In Capita Translation & Interpreting Limited v Siauciunas [2017] UKEAT 0181_16_2302, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered the employment status of an interpreter.

Mr Siauciunas was an interpreter for Capita Translation & Interpreting Limited (Capita). His services were provided to the U.K. courts on an assignment-by-assignment basis via an agreement with the U.K. Ministry of Justice. Mr Siauciunas sought to bring a discrimination claim, for which he needed to show that he was an employee.

In order to determine his employment status, the EAT reviewed the nature of the working relationship between Mr Siauciunas and Capita, including whether there was “mutuality of obligation” in the period between the assignments Mr Siauciunas carried out (i.e., was Capita required to provide work to Mr Siauciunas and was he required to take on work if offered?). The EAT found that there was no mutuality of obligation as Mr Siauciunas had declined some assignments in the past and had not at any stage been exclusively committed to work for Capita.

The EAT held that mutuality of obligation was a relevant factor when determining employment status. This had not been considered at first instance and so the EAT remitted the case to a newly constituted Employment Tribunal to reconsider the case.

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