Employment Tribunal finds freelancer is not employee and not sexually discriminated against

Mr Shenton, the Claimant, was the theatre critic for Sunday Express and claimed he was an employee. The case was set to have important ramifications for the newspaper industry, as well as others, given freelancers such as Mr Shenton were commonly used and so could have opened up future ‘freelancer’ employee status claims.

He also claimed that he was discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation, because he had been outed by a reader as appearing on a pornographic website. This resulted in the termination of the arrangement which the Claimant argued was discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

The Employment Tribunal concluded the Claimant was not an employee and at [61] in relation to the discrimination claim stated:

The Tribunal concluded that the Respondents would have reacted teh same way in respect of anyone in the Claimant’s position, in other words, in respect of any person working for the newspaper who appeared in publicly available and equivalent pornographic material, regardless of that person’s sexual orientation.

In the above case, Philip Engelman appeared for the Claimant and Jacques Algazy QC appeared for the Respondent.  For the full judgment please visit ET-Judgment—Shenton-v-Express-Newspapers.pdf