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Sharps Bedrooms fitter fights for rights after being denied holiday pay and Statutory Sick Pay

Huddersfield fitter David Lockwood, who has been classed as a subcontractor by Sharps Bedrooms Limited is taking legal action against the company to be classed as a worker and receive benefits such as holiday pay and Statutory Sick Pay.

Posted on 02 January 2024

David, aged 58, claims that the company denies him agency in his role, subjects him to financial penalties, and denies him the right to carry out work for competitors.

He installs pre-made fitted furniture for Sharps Bedroom Limited and began his employment relationship with the company about 30 years ago.

Sharps Bedrooms Limited, based in the Midlands, classes David as a subcontractor, which denies him holiday pay and Statutory Sick Pay, despite David having had no breaks in employment and providing his services only to them. David is required to work under the contracts drafted entirely by Sharps.

David Lockwood.

David claims that if an installer like him failed to take up the company’s assignments, Sharps Bedrooms Limited would stop giving them work.

Sharps Bedrooms Limited deducts payments directly from David’s wages for taxes, and deducts from his wages for workplace liability insurance, under a non-negotiable agreement. The company labelled this as a ‘Company Subcontractor Insurance Scheme’.

David claims that Sharps Bedrooms Limited would control the dates and times for his work to be provided, and it would impose a financial penalty if he did not give at least 72 hours’ notice if he could not attend a job. The company sets the fees for David’s jobs, and would often quote for less work than was necessary, claims David.

David Lockwood.

The company requires David to follow an installation manual and draw a plan for every job, and David says that he would face financial penalty if he then deviated from this plan.

Despite being classed as and treated as a subcontractor without access to workers’ rights, allegedly Sharps Bedrooms Limited would assure customers that fittings would be carried out by their own personnel.

David approached Leigh Day senior associate solicitor Ryan Bradshaw in February 2023 to bring this legal claim on his behalf. The claim was filed at the Employment Tribunal in August 2023. Sharps has informed the Employment Tribunal it denies the claim.

David Lockwood said:

“After working for 25 plus years in full time service to Sharps Bedrooms, I feel totally failed and disrespected by them. I believe that they have used unlawful loopholes to take advantage of hard and loyal workers.”

Law for Change founder, Stephen Kinsella, said:

"Law for Change is proud to support David in his fight for better workers' rights. Our mission is to back legal actions that have a clear social benefit and the erosion of workers' rights under sham self-employed contracts is an area we are particularly concerned about.

“It is clear that a positive outcome for David and the clarification of his employment status could not only secure better contract rights for him but also benefit workers we believe are being denied the benefits and protections they are entitled to."

Ryan Bradshaw said:

“David has been a loyal worker for Sharps Bedrooms Limited for decades, yet the company treat him as a subcontractor and are in control of David’s work setting the fees and parameters of his work. Furthermore, they are allegedly assuring customers that David is a member of their staff, yet putting ‘subcontractor’ on his pay statements and terms of engagement. We hope that by bringing this legal claim, David’s employment status can be settled and he will have access to the holiday pay and sick pay that he is owed.”

Ryan Bradshaw
Discrimination Employment Human rights

Ryan Bradshaw

Ryan advises on human rights, discrimination and employment law

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