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Alan is a Partner in our Employment team, based in Manchester. With nearly twenty years’ experience in the employment sector, he is renowned among clients for his dedicated approach and attention to detail. He mainly advises employers and his clients range from small SMEs to larger companies with thousands of employees.
Alan advises employers on how best to streamline management of staff and resources to reduce the time spent on areas adding little value to the business. He also assists directors and other senior executives in drawing up contracts with their employing company, or negotiating an exit deal if they are looking to move elsewhere.
Alan is also a Local Education Authority Governor of The Elton High School.
"Alan is one of the most caring and intelligent Solicitors I have ever had the pleasure to meet. As a fellow solicitor I am proud to say that I look up to Alan as a shining example of best practice within the profession." – Peer testimonial
"His caring yet forensically detailed approach put me at ease, and ensured that I achieved the best possible result." – Client testimonial
"He comes up with unique, creative solutions that you cannot find in a text book or from your average solicitor off the street. He is able to do this because of his ability to truly understand the needs of his clients and due to outstanding level of care that he delivers." – Client testimonial
“There will now be huge ramifications for the government, particularly because at the outset of Unison’s challenge, the Lord Chancellor agreed to repay all Employment Tribunal fees if the union was successful. It will take a while for the fee system to unravel and although technically no further fees are payable, in practice, the system has been set up so that claimants cannot actually issue their claim unless they have paid the fee or applied for remission.
“It is also extremely likely to result in an increase in the numbers of Employment Tribunal claims brought – although this might amount to a steady trickle to start with rather than a huge and immediate increase.
“One interesting point is whether employers who have been ordered to repay fees will also be able to recover their money. If the Lord Chancellor repays the claimant, he or she will then have to repay their ex employer. It will be interesting to see how this will be enforced and whether employers will bother to enforce it if the claimant keeps the money.”
“This case appears to boil down to the question of control. The Tribunal was prepared to look straight through the wording of the contract and examine closely what was really happening in practice.
“The expectation that the employee would work when she said she would, that she would be directed what to do during her “on circuit” time, the obligation to smile, the control over when she would be paid and the use of the company calculations of her pay all pointed away from a typical self-employed situation.
“The case is yet further support for the line of reasoning in the Uber case that when attempts are made by careful contractual drafting to cover up a true worker relationship, the employment tribunal will be ready to dig into the detail and disregard express contractual provisions. This is yet another decision that sends out a clear message about the rights of those working in the “gig” economy.
“What remains to be seen is the impact that cases like this will have on the viability of the growing gig economy model. If companies are forced to honour worker entitlements, will the added expense mean that the profitability simply isn’t there for this type of industry? What may seem like another victory for an individual here, could well turn out to be another hurdle for the continued survival of this way of working.”
"The disappointment expressed by the GMB here is understandable but Uber were always going to appeal this decision, not least because financially, the implications for its wider UK workforce are significant. If they have to pay holiday and National Minimum Wage costs for their 40,000 UK drivers, their profits will take a hit.
"The tribunal judgment examined the two leading decisions - one involving a caddie working on a golf course who was self-employed and one involving a lap dancer who was also considered to be self-employed. Uber relied on these cases by arguing that it was acting as a 'platform' rather than an employer.
"Uber's argument was undermined by the Tribunal's findings of fact, including the interviewing of drivers by Uber, their control of passengers' key information which is not shared with the driver and the requirement that drivers must accept fares or face a warning and being locked out of the Uber app if too many fares are refused. It is entirely possible, particularly given the amount of money Uber are going to throw at overturning this judgment, for them to raise cogent arguments to support their contention that their drivers are self employed contractors and not workers.
"Although there is a possibility that their appeal will be unsuccessful, the issue of the status of workers engaged in the gig economy is of particular public concern and this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court."
"Even if the appeal is unsuccessful, well advised businesses operating in the gig economy should still be able to engage with individuals on a 'self-employed' basis as the judgment was very fact specific. In addition, the tribunal also expressly highlighted that nothing in its reasoning should be taken as doubting Uber could have devised a business model that did not result in the drivers having worker status."
"This is yet another case that will test the so-called 'gig economy' model of working.
"It is important to remember that the Uber case was a first instance decision. That means that it is not binding on future cases. Each case turns on its own facts and in the Uber decision, some parts of the judgment indicate that the tribunal was influenced by the huge size of the Uber undertaking.
"Views of the gig economy tend to fall into one of two camps. Some commentators believe it creates opportunities for individuals looking for lots of flexibility in their working lives. Others say it is an attack on protections for employees and that vulnerable workers are most at risk of what are seen as abusive practices.
"This is such an important debate that the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee has set up an inquiry to look at how we will work in the future and this will also cover issues concerning the gig economy."
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