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

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.”

Court: CA
Date: 11-Dec-1996
Judges: Lord Justice McCowan, Lord Justice Waite, Lord Justice Potter
Statutes: Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 8122
Links: Bailii,
References: [1996] EWCA Civ 1166, [1997] IRLR 353, [1997] ICR 549
Cases Cited:
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Filed under Benefits, Employment, Insolvency

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