As from 11 January 2016, employees working under a zero hours contract now have the right to make an employment tribunal claim where their employer punishes them for breaching an exclusivity clause.

Under a zero hours contact, the employer does not guarantee to provide a minimum number of hours’ work, and some have used exclusivity clauses to prevent those engaged under such an agreement from working for another organisation, or to prohibit workers from doing so without the employer’s consent.

These exclusivity clauses have been prohibited since May 2015, but workers have not had the power to enforce the ban and employers could punish individuals who work elsewhere, for example by failing to offer them further work, as there was no penalty for avoiding the ban.

The new Regulations give employment tribunals discretion over the amount of compensation to award in a detriment claim, as the amount of the compensation should be such that the tribunal considers to be “just and equitable”, subject to various factors and limitations.