Reprinted with corrections (2015); Paperback (2016)
Employment law struggles to adapt to complex modern work arrangements, from agency work and service companies to corporate groups and Private Equity investors. This book argues that the cause of this failure can be found in our concept of the employer, which has become riddled with internal contradictions: English law searches for the unitary counterparty to a bilateral contract of employment by reference to a series of multi-functional tests. As a result of this tension, full employment law coverage is restricted to the narrow scenario where a single legal entity exercises all employer functions⎯a paradigm far from the fragmented reality of modern labour markets.
These problems can only be addressed by a careful reconceptualization leading to the development of a functional concept of the employer. The book draws on existing models in English and European law to develop a definition of the employer as the entity, or combination of entities, exercising functions regulated in a particular domain of employment law. Each strand of the received concept of the employer is examined in turn to demonstrate how this more openly multifunctional approach can successfully overcome the rigidities of the current notion without abandoning a coherent underlying framework. The book fills a crucial gap in employment law and corporate law by exposing the defects in our current understanding of the employer and by developing a new functional concept appropriate for both traditional and emerging work arrangements.