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​England & Wales: Associate dentists and employment status

6 July 2022

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal poses questions on whether associate dentists in England and Wales have some rights, such as rights in relation to protection from discrimination.


An associate bought a claim of unlawful discrimination against Rodericks. Self-employed people can still have protection against discrimination if they are found by the tribunal to be what is known as a "worker".

This case suggests that associates engaged under some associates agreements are workers and therefore have some rights, including in relation to discrimination. More recent versions of dental associate agreements, including the BDA model and the latest Rodericks associate agreement, guard against such a finding.


We are currently assessing the implications of this case for members. Our advice teams are happy to advise members who may be affected.