Employment Status: Dentist was not a Worker


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Posted on 15 Sep 2010

In Community Dental Centres Ltd v Sultan-Darmon the EAT found that the unfettered right of substitution (i.e. that if Dr Sultan-Darman could not work, he could chose (not the company) a substitute to work in his place) in Dr Sultan-Darman’s contract meant that he was not a worker, but an independent contractor.  

Dr Sultan-Darman, a dentist, brought an unlawful deductions claim against his dental surgery.  The EAT held that Dr Sultan-Darman's right of substitution meant that he could not be a worker, because he was not obliged to "perform personally any work or services".  He therefore was not entitled to bring a claim for unlawful deduction of wages.   

The EAT confirmed the principle that where a genuine right of substitution exists, there cannot be worker status.  Most employers will be keen to have some say/control over in who will substitute for their contractors, this may mean that it is risk that the contractor will be deemed a “worker” and as a result have employment rights. 

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