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Employment Law Case Update: Stanley v Gnewt Cargo

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Much has been reported on the ‘gig economy’ and its effect on employment law. The classification of whether a person is an ‘employee’, ‘self-employed’ or ‘worker’ can have large ramifications for both the person and the organisation, with differing rights as to holiday pay, national minimum wage, pensions, unfair dismissal, redundancy, maternity/paternity pay and many more.

There is a further protection that employees and workers benefit from, which the self-employed do not; protection from discrimination.

That is why Hayley Stanley is arguing with courier company Gnewt Cargo that she was a worker. Ms Stanley is a transgender woman who worked as a van driver. She claims she was bullied and harassed at work because of her gender reassignment. Her claims involve general comments and laughing, leaving 70 boxes in her way which she had to move before she could start work, and that the front wheel of her bike was loosened before she travelled home. Ms Stanley says she complained about the incidents, but her complaints were ignored.

Ms Stanley believes Gnewt Cargo have wrongly classified her role as self-employed - a tactic which unions argue many organisations are using to avoid having to pay holiday pay or other benefits - but also under which she would not be able to make a discrimination claim.

To succeed in her claim, she will have to establish that she was contracted personally to do the work and could not delegate or outsource it to someone else. That is often a key difference between those who are self-employed and those who are workers. The work would have had to have been carried out on behalf of Gnewt Cargo and not for her own business.

Watch this space…this is possibly the first time that the ‘gig economy’ has been tested in a transgender discrimination context, and it will be interesting to see the result.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.