"Self-employed” hairdresser found to be employee

Published on: 05/08/2020

#Atypical & Flexible Working

The Claimant, a hairdresser, sought to pursue claims for unfair dismissal, notice pay, holiday pay and redundancy pay following the closure of the salon in which she worked but the Respondent argued that because she was self-employed the Tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to hear these claims.

At a Preliminary Hearing to determine her status, the Judge found the Claimant was in fact an employee for the following reasons:

  • The Respondent had a very high degree of control over the Claimant, including over:
    • the days and times she worked;
    • the clients she saw, the services provided and the amount to charge; and
    • The clothes she wore and the products she used.
  • It was clear that the Claimant was obliged to accept the work allocated to her and the Respondent was obliged to pay her for it; and
  • Despite the existence of a substitution clause, the Claimant could not send someone of her own choosing to work in her place and would not be paid unless she provided the services personally.

This ruling is a strong reminder to employers that when assessing employment status, the Tribunal will pay particular attention to the reality of the working arrangements.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.