Sports Direct agrees to changes in recruitment and policy practices for zero hours staff

The move is part of a set of legally binding promises in response to legal action brought by former zero hours employee Zahera Gabriel-Abraham.

As part of the settlement, Sports Direct has agreed to:

• Rewrite its job adverts and employment contracts for future zero hours staff to state the roles do not guarantee work.

• Produce written policies setting out what sick pay and paid holiday zero hours staff are entitled to.

• Display copies of the new policies in all staff rooms used by zero hours staff across its 400-plus stores in the UK.

• Send copies of its equal opportunities policy to all store managers and assistant managers, with a written reminder that the policy and principles apply to zero hours staff.

Elizabeth George from the law firm Leigh Day, who represented Gabriel-Abraham in her claim against Sports Direct for sex discrimination, unfair treatment and breach of holiday rights, explains: “Zero hours workers are not second class workers.

“They have the right to be treated fairly and with respect.

“They have the right to take holidays and to be paid when they take them.

“They have the right to statutory sick pay.

“They have a right to request guaranteed hours. Sports Direct will now have to make that crystal clear to staff.

“By doing so, the risk of those rights being ignored or misunderstood by managers will be significantly reduced in the future.

“The changes Zahera has achieved mean that there will now be total transparency about what sort of contract is on offer.

“That has to be right when you are talking about jobs that don’t guarantee people work.

“Lack of transparency was one of the key concerns identified by the government in its recent investigation into zero hours contracts.

“The government chose not to make transparency mandatory. This settlement means that it is now mandatory for Sports Direct.”

The case, supported by campaign group 38 Degrees, was due to go to a full hearing at Croydon Employment Tribunal in November this year.

Laura Townshend of 38 Degrees says: “Thousands of 38 Degrees members supported this historic challenge to Sports Direct’s use of zero hours staff.

“Now this legally binding commitment has lifted the bar for every other employer. It leaves big business with no more excuses.

“The fight for more protection for zero hours workers isn’t over. But this news shows that even the biggest employers of zero hours workers are finally upping their game.”

“The new job advertisements will mean that people will not find themselves in a situation where what you think you are getting isn’t what you actually get,” Gabriel-Abraham says.

“It was important to me that these changes happened before the company’s Christmas recruitment round and that has been achieved.”

Sports Direct said the settlement was made without admission of any liability.

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