Court has ruled in a recent case, Clyde & Co v Bates Van Winkelhof, that
members of Limited Liability Partnerships (‘LLPs’) are workers, for the
purposes of whistleblowing protection. The question of whether a
partner in these circumstances can ever be an employee was unresolved by this
could affect a number of regulated professions, such as solicitors, doctors,
accountants and private equity houses who are organised as LLPs. LLPs
will need to ensure that they do not take any retaliatory action against LLP
members who blow the whistle, since such members will now be entitled to
uncapped compensation based on actual and future losses, together with
potential injury to feelings awards, if they can successfully show that
they have suffered any detriment by reason of a protected disclosure.
will need to consider updating internal whistleblowing policies to ensure that
they apply to the LLP members, as well as other staff. LLPs will also
need to ensure that members are treated in accordance with rights
afforded to workers under the Working Time Regulations, Part-Time Working
Regulations, National Minimum Wage Regulations and other related
statutory protections which protect workers.
There is also
scope to argue that LLP members may be classed as eligible ‘jobholders’ for the
purposes of auto enrolment, which would mean all members would have to be
automatically enrolled into pension schemes following the LLP’s staging date
(save of course where the member actively elects to opt out).
could therefore have potentially far reaching consequences affecting a number
of businesses. LLPs should ensure that they recognise their members’
status as workers, and ensure that they are treated accordingly.