Allonby v Accrington and Rossendale College for Education and Employment: ECJ 13 Jan 2004

ECJ Principle of equal pay for men and women – Direct effect – Meaning of worker – Self-employed female lecturer undertaking work presumed to be of equal value to that which is undertaken in the same college by male lecturers who are employees, but under contract with a third company – Self-employed lecturers not eligible for membership of an occupational pension scheme.
The court was asked whether a college lecturer who was ostensibly self-employed could nevertheless be a ‘worker’ for the purpose of an equal pay claim.
Held: ‘According to Article 2 EC, the Community is to have as its task to promote, among other things, equality between men and women. Article 141(1) EC constitutes a specific expression of the principle of equality for men and women, which forms part of the fundamental principles protected by the Community legal order (see, to that effect, joined cases C-270/97 and C-271/97 Deutsche Post [2000] ECR I- 929, paragraph 57). As the Court held in Defrenne (No.2), cited above (paragraph 12), the principle of equal pay forms part of the foundations of the Community.
Accordingly, the term worker used in Article 141(1) EC cannot be defined by reference to the legislation of the Member States but has a Community meaning. Moreover, it cannot be interpreted restrictively.
For the purposes of that provision, there must be considered as a worker a person who, for a certain period of time, performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration (see, in relation to free movement of workers, in particular case 66/85 Lawrie-Blum [1986] ECR 2121, paragraph 17, and Martinez Sala, paragraph 32).
Pursuant to the first paragraph of Article 141(2) EC, for the purpose of that article, pay means the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment, from his employer. It is clear from that decision that the authors of the Treaty did not intend that the term worker, within the meaning of Article 141(1) EC, should include independent providers of services who are not in a relationship of subordination with the person who receives the services (see also, in the context of free movement of workers, case C- 337/97 Meeusen [1999] ECR I-3289, paragraph 15).
The question whether such a relationship exists must be answered in each particular case having regard to all the factors and circumstances by which the relationship between the parties is characterised.
Provided that a person is a worker within the meaning of Article 141(1) EC, the nature of his legal relationship with the other party to the employment relationship is of no consequence in regard to the application of that article (see, in the context of free movement of workers, case 344/87 Bettray [1989] ECR 1621, paragraph 16, and case C-357/89 Raulin [1992] ECR I-1027, paragraph 10).
The formal classification of a self-employed person under national law does not exclude the possibility that a person must be classified as a worker within the meaning of Article 141(1) EC if his independence is merely notional, thereby disguising an employment relationship within the meaning of that article.
In the case of teachers who are, vis-a-vis an intermediary undertaking, under an obligation to undertake an assignment at a college, it is necessary in particular to consider the extent of any limitation on their freedom to choose their timetable, and the place and content of their work. The fact that no obligation is imposed on them to accept an assignment is of no consequence in that context (see to that effect, in relation to free movement of workers, Raulin, paragraphs 9 and 10).’

V Skouris, P
C-256/01, [2004] EUECJ C-256/01, [2004] ECR I-00873, [2004] ICR 1328
Equal Treatment Directive (Council Directive 76/207/EEC
Reference fromAllonby v Accrington and Rossendale College and others CA 23-Mar-2001
The college failed to renew contracts for lecturers on one year fixed term contracts. A greater proportion of women were subject to such contracts, and the dismissal fell entirely on part time and hourly paid workforce. The condition which the . .
AppliedDeborah Lawrie-Blum v Land Baden-Wuerttemberg ECJ 3-Jul-1986
The Equal Treatment Directive is concerned with ‘workers’ which is a term of art in Community law: ‘That concept must be defined in accordance with objective criteria which distinguish the employment relationship by reference to the rights and . .
At EATAllonby v Accrington and Rossendale College EAT 29-Mar-2000
EAT Sex Discrimination – Indirect – European Material – Article 19.
EAT European Material – Article 19
EAT Equal Pay Act – (no . .

Cited by:
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CitedPimlico Plumbers Ltd and Another v Smith SC 13-Jun-2018
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Discrimination, Employment, European

Leading Case

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.192232