McMeechan -v- Secretary of State for Employment; CA 11 Dec 1996

References: [1996] EWCA Civ 1166, [1997] IRLR 353, [1997] ICR 549
Links: Bailii
Coram: Lord Justice McCowan, Lord Justice Waite, Lord Justice Potter
The respondent as a temporary worker was entitled to be treated as an employee of an agency within the contract governing the particular engagement where money was due when the agency went into liquidation. He was therefore able to claim against the respondent as such on that insolvency. A temporary worker might be an employee for each assignment in which he actually works even though he may not be an employee of the agency under a general contract. Waite LJ: ‘There is nothing inherently repugnant, whether to good relations in the workplace or in law, about a state of affairs under which, in an employment agency case, the status of employee of the agency is allocated to a temporary worker in respect of each assignment actually worked – notwithstanding that the same worker may not be entitled to employee status under his general terms of engagement’ and ‘The force of this is not lost in cases where – following what appears to be a common (though potentially confusing) practice – the agency and the temporary worker have committed themselves to standard terms and conditions which are intended to apply both to the general engagement and to the individual stints worked under it. The only result of that fusion is that the same conditions will have to be interpreted from a different perspective, according to whether they are being considered in the context of the general engagement or in the context of a single assignment.’
Statutes: Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 8122
This case cites:

  • Appeal from – McMeechan -v- Secretary of State for Employment and Another EAT (Bailii, [1994] UKEAT 1006_93_2311)
    The applicant was a temporary worker on the books of an employment agency, which went into insolvent liquidation. He claimed that he had a contract of service with the agency. That formed the basis of his application to the Secretary of State under . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd -v- Patricia Dacas CA ([2004] EWCA Civ 217, Bailii, Times 19-Mar-04, [2004] ICR 1437, [2004] IRLR 358)
    The applicant cleaner sought compensation for unfair dismissal. The issue was whether she was an employee of the respondents, of their client where she did her work, or was not an employee at all. She worked for an agency, who sent her out to . .
  • Cited – Clark -v- Oxfordshire Health Authority CA (Gazette 28-May-98, Bailii, [1997] EWCA Civ 3035, [1998] IRLR 125)
    A nurse was employed under a contract, under which there was no mutuality of obligation; she could refuse work and employer need offer none. This meant that there was no employment capable of allowing an unfair dismissal issue to arise. . .
  • Cited – P Dacas -v- Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd Wandsworth London Borough Council EAT (EAT/492/02, Bailii, [2002] UKEAT 492_02_1112, EATn)
    EAT Contract of Employment – Definition of Employee . .
  • Cited – Cornwall County Council -v- Prater CA (Bailii, [2006] EWCA Civ 102, [2006] BLGR 479, [2006] 2 All ER 1013, [2006] IRLR 362, [2006] ICR 731)
    The claimant worked for the local authority under a series of contracts. The employer denied that she had been continuously employed and there was no ‘irreducible minimum mutual obligation necessary to create a contract of service’. There were times . .
  • Cited – Drake -v- Ipsos Mori UK Ltd EAT (Bailii, [2012] UKEAT 0604_11_2507)
    EAT JURISDICTIONAL POINTS – Worker, employee or neither
    The Claimant worked for the Respondent as a market researcher under a succession of individual assignments. The Employment Judge erred in law in . .

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