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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

'Hundreds' of former Purplebricks agents back workers' rights legal claim

Hundreds of former Purplebricks agents have now signed up to a potential legal claim against the firm.

Contractors For Justice, known as C4J, represents workers it believes should have been entitled to benefits while with a company.

Similar claims have been won in cases involving companies such as Uber, where people worked regularly for one brand but did not receive any benefits.

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C4J says that in other sectors such as food delivery and taxis, this approach has been proven to fall foul of HMRC IR.35 regulations. 

It wants to set up Group Litigation Orders - popularly known as ‘class actions’ - against online agents such as Purplebricks, which recently changed the status of its Local Property Experts and Territory Owners from self-employed to employed. 

A spokesperson confirmed yesterday that 400 agents, mainly formerly with Purplebricks have now signed up to the class action.

C4J says the initial basis of the action centres around the non-payment of holiday pay which it states previous and current workers may be due if it is proven that they were in fact employed. 

A leaked document sent to claimants, seen yesterday by Estate Agent Today, shows a letter before action setting out the claim will be going out in “the coming weeks.”

The document sent to claimants says: “The claim will be against the agency that utilised your services whilst claiming throughout that you were self-employed and not an employee.

“As a result then you have not received the lawful payments associated with your working status. These payments relate to working time, holiday and sick pay amongst others, such as pension contributions.

“Cumulatively, amongst many workers and over time, these claims will be worth many millions. 

“We shall also be seeking statutory interest on any settlement sums which is currently 8% p.a.

“As a general rule, the damages we shall seek will be based on your physical loss and will not provide to you any gratuitous benefit.  In law, and litigation, nothing is ever certain. 

“However, it is becoming obvious that in this instance we are pushing at an open door and the sooner we can start the litigation process, the sooner this matter can be brought to a conclusion.”

The claim is being brought on a no-win-no-fee basis and the letter warns that former self-employed Local Property Experts, Local Agents and Territory Owners must sign up by the end of April to get a discounted rate of 25%, after which the fee will rise to 40%.

Purplebricks has been asked for comment but has previously said there is no legal basis for the claim.

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