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Non exclusivity meant GP was self employed, not a worker

18 June 2015 #Employment


How relevant is it to worker/employee status that the individual in question works exclusively in that role for a single employer?

Accordingly to a case this week, Suhail v Barking Havering & Redbridge NHS Trust, it seems to be a significant factor.

 The Claimant, Dr Suhail, worked as an out-of-hours GP and also provided his services from time to time, through a cooperative, to an NHS Trust. He was described as a self employed contractor. He submitted invoices which were paid without deduction of tax and NI contributions. There was no obligation on the cooperative to provide work, nor for the Claimant to accept assignments when offered. Although he provided his services personally, he was free to work for any other organisation. Accordingly, the Claimant sought assignments with whichever locum agency offered the most attractive work.

The EAT contrasted the position in this case with that in Hospital Medical Group Ltd v Westwood. In that case, the GP was a senior partner in a medical practice but also had an interest in minor surgery and carried out hair restoration procedures for the Hospital Medical Group Ltd. The GP was found to be a worker but not an employee. Importantly, although this GP had other "jobs", he had agreed to provide his services as a hair restoration surgeon exclusively to Hospital Medical Group and he did not offer that service elsewhere.  He was recruited by them to work as an integral part of its operations.

That exclusivity was not present on the facts of Dr Suhail’s case. He was free to work or not as often as he chose and wherever he chose. The organisations he worked for were clients/customers of Dr Suhail. On that basis he was neither an employee nor a worker for employment law purposes. He was self employed.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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