From Uber to Judges: You won’t have thought this crowd would be fighting for ‘worker’ status

Uber, Deliveroo, Hermes…

The list goes on in terms of those cases which have been in the spotlight of wanting to have their employee/worker status recognised.

As opposed to the self-employed or contractors, workers enjoy rights such as National Minimum Wage, paid holiday, protection from less favourable treatment if they’re part-time and statutory sick pay.

So what is interesting is that the less well-publicised case is that of Gilham v Ministry of Justice currently being heard in the Court of Appeal.

This case concerns District Judge Gilham who seeks worker status, not so that she can enjoy national minimum wage, but from whistleblower legislation. Such legislation protects workers against detrimental treatment in the event that they ‘blow the whistle’ on the organisation for whom they work.

It transpires that DJ Gilham had raised concerns to a senior Judge in or around 2013 about facilities at court and Judges’ workloads. Following from this, she alleges that she was then bullied and subjected to undue stress. She also warned about courtroom dangers including death threats, violent claimants and hostage-taking. As a result, she has not been hearing cases since 2013.

The Ministry of Justice argues that she is an “office-holder” therefore does not have a contract of employment with the department. 

Such a case (which is before Gloster LJ, Underhill LJ and Singh LJ this week) goes to show that worker rights are being fought for by all members of society in all manner of establishments.

Businesses, employers and organisations alike can benefit from and should obtain legal advice regarding their workers’ rights and status in order to join the queue of growing cases.

Indeed, it must be said that during this period of time when public services are severely under-resourced, whistleblowing is a valuable tool that allows those on the inside to raise concerns which are undoubtedly in the public’s interest.