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An interesting decision has just been handed down by a London Employment Tribunal to the effect that TUPE applies not just to employees but also to the wider category of workers. This could potentially have very significant implications for anyone dealing with a TUPE transfer.
The wording of TUPE refers to “employees”; these are defined in slightly wider terms than under other employment legislation as “any individual who works for another person, whether under a contract of employment or apprenticeship or otherwise”. Until now, there has been no case law on the precise meaning of “or otherwise” but workers have traditionally been excluded. The recent decision held that TUPE has to be interpreted in line with European legislation, meaning workers should be included.
As a first instance decision it is not binding on other Employment Tribunals (and could be appealed) but, if this decision is followed, it would effectively expand TUPE protection to cover workers e.g. bank staff.