Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

LLP member is a ‘worker​’

The Supreme Court held in the case of Clyde & Co v Bates van Winkelhof that a member of a limited liability partnership (LLP) is a ‘worker’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) and therefore qualifies for whistleblowing protection. The impact of this decision is far reaching as it means that LLP members are also entitled to a raft of other rights, such as the right for part-timers not to be treated less favourably and not to suffer unauthorised deductions from their pay and potentially pension auto-enrolment, as a consequence of their newly acquired ‘worker status’.

Ms Bates van Winkelhof (BvW) became a fixed-share equity partner of Clyde & Co (the LLP) in February 2010. At the time, she worked principally, but not exclusively, in Tanzania on secondment to Ako Law, a Tanzanian law firm. In November 2010, she reported to the LLP that the managing partner of Ako Law had admitted to her that he paid bribes to secure work and a favourable outcome of cases. Ms BvW was dismissed from Ako Law, suspended from the LLP and, following an investigation, ultimately expelled as a member of the LLP.

Ms BvW brought a claim in the employment tribunal on the basis that she was subjected to a detriment for blowing the whistle…

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