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Hairdresser wins landmark tribunal case against bogus self-employment contracts

A SELF-EMPLOYED hairdresser has won the right to claim for notice, holiday and redundancy pay in what her lawyers claim is a landmark case for thousands of beauty industry workers.

Meghan Gorman, 26, won an employment tribunal judgement in her favour after arguing that, although she had a contract as a self-employed hairdresser, the amount of control over her working practices effectively made her an employee.

Ms Gorman, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, worked at a Terence Paul salon in Manchester city centre for six years until it closed in 2019.

She claimed that she had to work the hours set by the salon, which kept 67 per cent of her takings.

Her lawyers claim the judgement in her favour, following an employment tribunal hearing in Manchester, furthers recent legal decisions on “worker” status in the case of Pimlico Plumbers at the Supreme Court and Uber drivers, currently on appeal from the Court of Appeal.

Judith Fiddler, of Direct Law and Personnel, said the preliminary judgement could affect thousands of hairdressers nationwide and other people such as dentists, hygienists, delivery drivers and bookkeepers.

Ms Fiddler said: “The whole hairdressing industry and many others will be affected by this decision.

“The significance is huge, as many people who think they are self-employed are actually not.

“The influence of the Pimlico Plumbers and Uber drivers’ cases has changed the climate.

“Our case was that Meghan was treated as an employee and was not genuinely self-employed, and therefore should benefit from employment law rights.

“At all times she was treated as an employee and her bosses exercised tight control over all aspects of her work.”

About 330,000 people work in the beauty industry in Britain, more than 80 per cent of them women, according to industry figures.

Employment tribunal Judge Marion Batten ruled in Ms Gorman’s favour in March, with the reasons for the ruling released this week.

Ms Gorman is now to pursue other claims against Terence Paul including unfair and wrongful dismissal, sexual discrimination and a failure to provide a written contract of employment, as well as claiming for holiday pay, her lawyers said.

TUC senior employment rights officer Tim Sharp said: “This is yet another case of the courts calling out false self-employment.

“The government needs to use its planned Employment Bill to ensure that everyone gets full rights unless the boss can prove they are genuinely self-employed.”

Terence Paul has been approached for comment.

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