Robin Hood - men 'n' rights
February 13, 2006 8:27 AM   Subscribe

UKJobsFilter: So, the medieval banqueting centre I've been playing Robin hood at for the past 16 years just rang me up to say they're selling the building to developers, and at the end of April that's it, all done. I've been self-employed for most of that time and have been invoicing on a 'per gig' basis for years now, but I'm wondering if, as they've easily (by a factor of lots) been my main employer for those sixteen years whether a 'that's your lot, chum' is all I'm getting, or is there a 'self-employed severance' for long term invoicers?
posted by timpollard to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I am assuming that the UK operates the same as the US in this instance, since I don't see any reason why it wouldn't. If you are self-employed then you are an independent contractor and they don't owe you anything. This is the reason why they hire you on a 'per gig' basis rather than hiring you outright - if it is 'per gig' then theoretically they could have stopped hiring you at any given time, not just because of a buy-out.

Sorry about your job, though, good luck!
posted by gatorae at 8:40 AM on February 13, 2006

Yep, they don't owe you anything except what is outlined in your contract. If your contract is up at the end of April you're done. On the upside if they are only contracting on a nightly basis your welcome to jump ship to your new job as soon as you find one.
posted by Mitheral at 8:52 AM on February 13, 2006

That's not ALWAYS the case, depending on how you were treated by the employer. At least in the states, any way. Here's a quick overview of the Microsoft case where Microsoft was forced to offer the same benefits to independent contractors as regular employees. The crux of the case:

If a worker has virtually no control over how his/her work is done, that worker is an employee. What title the company chooses to give them, i.e., independent contractor, does not matter.

I'm not sure that similar case law exists in the UK, or if it even really counts in your case, but it's something to look for, at any rate.
posted by antifuse at 8:57 AM on February 13, 2006

They have medieval banqueting centres in this country? Where?
posted by cillit bang at 9:16 AM on February 13, 2006

Response by poster: They had two in Nottingham, now they have one :-)

I didn't think I'd have much comeback, especially as I've never had a contract in 16 years, they just told me when the gigs were on and I turned up, invoicing on the night.

On the plus side, I'm still Robin Hood-ing twice weekly at a holiday centre in the middle of Sherwood Forest as well as for Nottingham City Council and anyone else who'll employ me, so I'm not an unemployed outlaw, just a slighly poorer one!
posted by timpollard at 9:39 AM on February 13, 2006

The difference between a casual worker and an employee can be thought of in terms of a commitment level.

When they called you to say "can you do your performance on Saturday night?" were you able to say "no"? There's your commitment level, pretty much zero. Can they continue without you? Yes. Can you continue without them? Yes.

If I was to leave my job right now I'd have to give a month's notice and produce copious notes on procedures, passwords and so on. If they wanted to get rid of me they'd have to make me redundant and pay me out. We are committed to each other.

But the place where you work isn't committed to you and you're not committed to them.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:25 PM on February 13, 2006

There is actually a chance you could be classified as an employee. The specific facts of the relationship between you and the centre will be important. There's a good discussion here.

From the site:

How can you decide if someone is an employee?

Courts and tribunals look at lots of different factors in order to decide whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. None of these factors on its own is definitive, but the questions set out below are the sorts of questions a court or tribunal will ask itself when trying to decide whether a worker is an employee. Nevertheless, there are three essential requirements for a contract of employment to exist – control, mutuality of obligation and personal service. If any of these are missing, the contract will not be a contract of employment. If all of these elements are present, there may be a contract of employment but it will necessary to look at all the other factors to decide whether they are consistent with a contract of employment.

posted by patricio at 2:50 PM on February 13, 2006

Heh, this could be a great story, even if it kills your Robin Hooding: Robin Hood given Boot by Sherrif of Nottingham, Vows Fight, et cetry.
posted by mwhybark at 7:33 PM on February 13, 2006

I was sorry to learn that after 16 years of a steady acting gig you were just thrown out on your ear. Seems like we as a society could treat our starving actors a little better - glad to hear you're not totally out of work.

I bet you could parlay mwhybark's suggestion into a little free publicity if you worked the angles right.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:23 PM on February 13, 2006

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