Appeal against the dismissal of University Lecturer’s claim of less favourable treatment under the Part time Workers Regulations.

Ben Spence

Mr Roddis was employed as an associate lecturer by Sheffield Hallam University and commenced employment on 30 January 2006. He brought claims for unfair dismissal, less favourable treatment under the Part-Time Workers Regulations, and a claim of age discrimination. The age discrimination complaint was withdrawn, and the unfair dismissal complaint was dismissed by the Tribunal since it was found that the contract of employment had not been terminated and there is no appeal from that part of the decision.

He brought various claims including less favourable treatment under the Part time Workers Regulations. The ET considered whether he was employed under the same type of contract as his comparator; Mr Mark Leader, who was employed as a lecturer on a full-time contract. The ET found that Mr Leader was not a comparable full time worker and in those circumstances, as there was no valid full time worker for the part time worker’s complaint, the claim was dismissed. The Claimant appealed.

In order to succeed in a claim of this type under the Part-Time Workers Regulations a Claimant must first establish that he or she is a part-time worker as defined and then identify an actual full-time worker comparator. She or he must then establish that they have been less favourably treated as regards either the terms of his or her contract or by being subjected to any other detriment and satisfy the Tribunal that the identified less favourable treatment is on the grounds that the Claimant worker is part-time.

The EAT applied the guidance set out in Matthews v Kent & Medway Towns Fire Authority [2006] UKHL 8. It made clear that whether a comparator is working under the same type of contract is determined by Regulation 2(3). If a part-time worker’s hours of work were seen as a distinctive feature of dissimilarity compared to that of a full-time worker, it would defeat the purpose of the legislation. It cannot be that a zero-hours contract of itself constitutes a different type of contract for the purposes of Regulation 2, since the consequence would be that an employee on a zero-hours contract would never be able to compare him or herself to a full-time worker, when the purpose of the Regulations is to enable comparisons to be made and for unjustified less favourable treatment on grounds of part-time worker status to be prohibited.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET had erred in concluding that Wippel v Peek & Cloppenburg GmbH & Co KG [2005] IRLR 211 ECJ led to the conclusion that the Claimant and his full-time comparator were not employed on the same type of contract. The case was remitted to the Tribunal to determine whether the part-time worker was engaged in the same, or broadly similar, work pursuant to Regulation 2(4)(a)(ii) and, if so, whether he had been subjected to unjustified less favourable treatment contrary to Regulation 5.


Roddis v Sheffield Hallam University UKEAT/0299/17 (26 March 2018).

Ben Spence – HR Business Partner

Ben Spence

I am a confident and commercial MCIPD qualified HR Professional with over 15 years’ experience in Human Resources. Prior to joining Cook Lawyers I spent 3 years at Wigan and Leigh College as a HR Business Partner and 4 years providing a HR Service to Schools in Lancashire and Wigan through the local authority. I have a real passion to ensure employment issues are managed effectively and in a timely manner.