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Launahurst Ltd v Larner - Contract was a "sham" and did not reflect reality of situation, which was one of employment [2009] EAT

Mr Larner worked for 13 years installing double glazing for Launahurst Ltd. In 2004 he signed a "contract supply agreement" which claimed to be an "entire agreement" and specifed that it was not a contract of employment. His pattern of work did not change. When Launahurst dispensed with Mr Larner's services he claimed unfair dismissal. An employment judge concluded that Mr Larner was, in fact, an employee of Launahurst. "The fact that Mr Larner was responsible for his own tax and National Insurance and provided his own tools, is a factor which points away from employment status. The fact that he was remunerated on a regular basis, albeit by some form of commission, the fact that he had no direct control over particular jobs that he undertook and the fact that...he would have appeared to outside observers to have been to all intents and purposes, an employee, are factors, which together with others...point to the conclusion that he was an employee. I have come to the conclusion after considering all various issues that I have referred to, that on balance, Mr Larner was an employee..." The "entire contract" clause was a sham as it bore no reality to the way in which, before and after the Agreement, the parties actually conducetd themselves. Launahurst appealed to the EAT - and lost.

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