BY TOBY PORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
A van driver claims her contract was terminated because of her transgender status.
Hayley Stanley, from Bermondsey, claims she was bullied and harassed on the basis of her gender reassignment.
She is bringing a discrimination claim against courier company Gnewt Cargo – which claims she was sacked after she deliberately damaged the shutters of one of their bays in January.
Her case is being backed by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) because her contract was in the gig economy – she worked as a freelance, rather than an employee, delivering parcels across London.
Hayley’s case is thought to be the first to test LGBT+ rights and discrimination in the gig economy.
She was classed as an independent contractor running her own business, so Gnewt claim she has no rights from employment law legislation.
The IWGB will argue she was bogusly classified as an independent contractor to save on benefits like holiday pay, pension, the national minimum wage – and protection against discrimination – which the self-employed do not have.
IWGB general secretary, Jason Moyer-Lee, said: “The Government should be protecting those working in the so-called gig economy by ensuring they are correctly classified and receiving the rights and benefits they deserve.
Hayley, a former pupil of Alma Primary School and Scott Lidgett Secondary, both in Bermondsey, claims she was treated less favourably because she is transgender.
She said: “It upset me – because I worked hard. You just start to feel helpless.
“If you are being discriminated against in any form you should be able to bring some sort of justice to bear on these people. “They can’t get away with treating people like they are commodities.
Unfortunately, bashing into the shutters gave them an easy way to get rid of me.”
Hayley has been unable to work since January. Instead, she has been looking after her wheelchair-bound partner of 30 years, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
“I told her about how I am, when we met,” said Hayley. “She was OK about it. That was a very important stage for me. “Generally people are fine with me. They are more interested than anything.
You get a few looks. It can start a conversation. I have had a few scrapes but nothing to worry about. “I am on hormone blockers but I have not had surgery and I am not going to.
“I used to wear eyeliner and feminine clothes through the 80s.
When I told my family in the pub, my brother said ‘We’ve all known for years anyway.’”
In a statement Gnewt Cargo, her employer for almost four years, said: “We ended the relationship with Ms Hayley Stanley after an incident, captured on CCTV, in which she purposefully damaged the main roller shutter door of our premises by ramming it with a loaded pallet truck.
“The decision to terminate her contract was purely due to this incident.
“Any other self-employed contractor would have been treated in the same way.”
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