The Court of Appeal has backed a decision that Pimlico Plumbers should have viewed self-employed Gary Smith as a “worker”.

The five justices rejected an appeal by Pimlico Plumbers against a number of court rulings that determined Mr X could claim “worker” status, even though he was described in his contract as a “self-employed operative”.

Mr X claimed that, after suffering a heart attack in 2011, he was unfairly dismissed when he tried to reduce his hours.

A tribunal made a preliminary finding that he was a “worker” within the meaning of the 1996 Employment Rights Act – a decision that was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and again by the Court of Appeal in January last year.