If someone is employed under a zero hours contract, they are unable to make a claim under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. Or so you would think.
Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000
The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 established a minimum standard of fairness for part-timers so that they cannot be treated less favourably than comparable full-time co-workers, unless the treatment is justified on objective grounds.
A comparable full-time worker must work in the same establishment as the part-timer, be engaged in broadly similar work and work under the same type of contract.
Zero hours contract comparison
A recent case concerning this, Roddis v Sheffield Hallam University, went to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The Claimant, Mr Roddis, was an associate lecturer employed under a zero hours contract. He brought a claim under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, comparing himself with a full-time lecturer working under a permanent contract.
The original Tribunal stuck out the claim, finding the claimant was not "employed under the same type of contract" for the purposes of reg.2(4)(i)(a) because he worked under a zero hours contract.
Contracts “of the same type”
However, Mr Roddis appealed. The Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld his appeal, substituting the tribunal’s decision with one finding that the contracts were the same type. It found that reg.2(3) provides a set of mutually exclusive categories, defined broadly in a way that allows for a wide variety of terms and conditions within each category.
If the difference in hours rendered the contracts not capable of comparison, the purpose of the 2000 Regulations would be self-defeating.
Since no other difference had been found by the Tribunal, both lecturers must be viewed to be working under the same type of contract.
Employed under the same type of contract
Paul Burton, Head of Frettens' Employment Team, comments “A contract cannot be treated as being of a different type from another, just because the terms and conditions that it lays down are different, nor because an employer chooses to treat workers of a particular type differently. It is something that employers should be aware of.”
Where a worker and his or her comparator are both employed under contracts that answer to the same description given in the same paragraph in Regulation 2(3), they are both to be regarded as employed under the same type of contract for the purposes of Regulation 2(4).
In order to satisfy the requirements of Regulation 2(4)(a)(i), it is not necessary to go further than to find that both workers are employed under contracts that fit into one or other of the listed categories
At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting or chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 and the Employment Team will be happy to discuss it with you.