Fitter’s legal case against Sharps Bedrooms set to begin

The employment status tribunal of a Sharps Bedrooms contractor is set to take place next week, with the claimant hoping to be classed as an officially employed worker with the right to claim holiday and sick pay.

David Lockwood has worked as a fitter for Sharps for almost 30 years, installing prefabricated furniture such as wardrobes and cupboards. However, he says that the company has classed him as a subcontractor and denied him workers’ benefits.

Lockwood alleges that Sharps is denying him the right to work for competitor companies, as well as subjecting him to financial penalties – which he argues could define his status as an official worker of the company.

In January of this year, Lockwood announced his intention to pursue legal action against Sharps Bedrooms, saying the company has used “unlawful loopholes” to take advantage of subcontractors, adding that he feels “totally failed and disrespected” by Sharps after his long years of service.

David Lockwood, 58, is pursuing the legal action

According to Lockwood, despite classing him as a subcontractor, Sharps is said to market to its customers that fittings will be carried out by its own personnel.  

Lockwood’s legal claim was first filed at the Employment Tribunal in August 2023. Since this time, Sharps has informed the Employment Tribunal it denies the claim.

Lockwood’s employment status hearing is scheduled to begin next week, on Monday April 15th, and will conclude on Friday April 19th, at the Leeds Employment Tribunal.

Lockwood is being represented by Ryan Bradshaw, partner at legal firm Leigh Day. In January, Bradshaw said that despite Lockwood’s almost three decades of service, Sharps treats him “as a subcontractor and are in control of David’s work, setting the fees and parameters of his work”.

His claim is also being supported by community interest company Law for Change, which funds public interest cases it believes will effect lasting social changes.

Law for Change’s founder, Stephen Kinsella, says that the organisation is proud to support Lockwood in his fight for workers’ rights.

Kinsella added: “It is clear that a positive outcome for David and the clarification of his employment status could not only secure better contract rights for him, but also benefit workers we believe are being denied the benefits and protections they are entitled to.”

After kbbreview originally reported on Lockwood’s case back in January, The British Institute of Kitchen Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) called for KBB businesses to thoroughly review their relationships with subcontractors.

kbbreview has approached Sharps for comment, but has yet to receive a response. 

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