Collier -v- Sunday Referee Publishing Co; 1940

The plaintiff was a chief sub-editor with the defendant. He sought the right to work and be paid for working.
Held: The employee had the right to work. Asquith J discussed a former employee’s right to earn a living: ‘It is true that a contract of employment does not necessarily, or perhaps normally, oblige the master to provide the servant with work. Provided I pay my cook her wages regularly she cannot complain if I choose to take any or all of my meals out. In some exceptional cases there is an obligation to provide work. For instance, where the servant is remunerated by commission, or where (as in the case of an actor or singer) the servant bargains, among other things, for publicity, and the master, by withholding work, also withholds the stipulated publicity: see, for instance, Marbe v. George Edwardes (Daly’s Theatre), Ld.; but such cases are anomalous, and the normal rule is illustrated by authorities such as Lagerwall v. Wilkinson, Henderson & Clarke, Ld. (2) and Turner v. Sawdon & Co., where the plaintiffs (a commercial traveller and a salesman respectively, retained for a fixed period and remunerated by salary) were held to have no legal complaint so long as the salary continued to be paid, notwithstanding that owing to their employers’ action they were left with nothing to do.’

Date: 01-Jan-1940
Judges: Asquith J
References: [1940] KB 647,
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