The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently clarified in Roddis v Sheffield Hallam University that there is a risk, where employees are employed on zero hours contracts and they are treated less favourably that fellow employees on other forms of contract, of claims under the Part-time Workers Discrimination legislation.

In the case the Claimant, who was an associate lecturer, was employed under a zero hours contract and brought claims under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. He compared himself with a full-time lecturer who was working under a permanent contract. Under the Part-time Workers Regulations, Claimants have to show they were employed under the same ‘type’ of contract. The original Tribunal struck out the claim finding the Claimant was not employed under the same type of contract for the purposes of the legislation, because he was on a zero hours contract. The Claimant appealed to the EAT.

The EAT found the Tribunal was wrong and substituted its decision finding the contracts were of the same type and so could be compared.

The case is a cautionary one for employers who regularly use zero hours contracts and flags there is a risk where zero hour employees are treated less favourably than other employees on similar permanent contracts then they can pursue claims against the employer. Care should be taken in drafting terms to ensure that zero hours employees are not put on inferior terms.

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