In Conroy v Scottish Football Association Ltd UKEATS/0024/13, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered the employment status of a football referee for the purposes of unfair dismissal legislation.
Mr Conroy, a referee, brought a claim for unfair dismissal against the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The Employment Tribunal agreed with the SFA's argument that Mr Conroy was self-employed (as opposed to an employee), and so could not bring a claim for unfair dismissal. On appeal, the EAT found that the Employment Tribunal's decision was correct. It had carefully considered and weighed up all the relevant factors, some of which were indicative of employment (e.g. Mr Conroy was not entitled to send a substitute in his place and he was covered by the SFA's private medical insurance), and others which were indicative of self-employment status (e.g. Mr Conroy paid his own taxes, was not subject to disciplinary procedures, and had the right to decline matches). On balance, the Employment Tribunal found that there were more factors which indicated that Mr Conroy was self-employed, and this was a decision that it was entitled to make.
This case is a useful reminder of the factors that Tribunals take into account when considering someone's employment status. It also provides reassurance to companies that one or two ‘anomalies' will not necessarily prevent an individual being classified in a particular way; it is a balancing act taking all factors into account.