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Hudson Contract’s latest employment tribunal victory: Claimants end up footing £3,500 bill

Ian Anfield | 17th September 2013

Six claimants from London have discovered the cost of bringing a groundless claim against Hudson Contract, and have been hit where it hurts most – in the wallet.

The history of the case goes back to June last year when a group of workers agreed with their former employer that they would be better off self-employed: they worked on a price, their output and attendance varied, and the way they operated was inconsistent with an employer/employee relationship, so self-employment suited all parties.

Over the course of a couple of months, the workers registered as self-employed and signed Hudson contracts.

But a few months later, things turned sour because our client no longer required the services of the operatives. The company unfortunately hit financial difficulties and later went into administration.

The six freelance builders took legal advice, and seemed to believe Hudson Contract was an easy target for a payout. The basis of the claim was to ignore the fact that they had opted for self-employment, and to make claims to be employees.

Nothing-to-lose strategy backfires

The claimants stood to make roughly £800 each if they won, and apparently believed that there was no risk to them. So like many tribunal applicants, they thought they might as well have a go…

However, in just one hour, the employment tribunal judge not only dismissed their claims – stating he believed the six men were self-employed – but also awarded costs against them, saying he believed the claimants had never had any prospect of success.

Although we had written to the claimants warning them this would be the likely outcome, they had chosen to press ahead, regardless, perhaps falling into the trap of believing that tribunals are an easy touch, and that businesses are likely to cave in and offer a settlement.

All of the claimants have moved on and are legitimately earning a living by using their construction skills. Their attempt at earning a tribunal payout has left them to share a £3,500 bill to cover Hudson Contract’s legal expenses.

Naturally, our client was fully covered by our Employment Guarantee and did not have to contribute a penny towards the cost of fighting the case.

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