Self employment and the law?

At at BBQ at the weekend, got gassing to one of the “in-laws” (partner's sister's boyfriend) who's looking at having a bun fight with a company he was contacting for.
He's self employed and has been subcontracting for a building company for a few years.
At the start of the year he was dropped with no explanation. The reason they gave was lack of work, but a couple of friends within the company informed him that it was because he had an argument with the one of the minor bosses.
He says looking into legal action

Reason I'm asking is I had a sort of similar situation a while back, and my understanding was that if you're self employed you have no recourse on this sort of a thing.

Can anyone enlighten me on this please?
Generally speaking, if you are an independent contractor you only have a contract FOR service and so once any contract is completed the person hiring has no obligation to continue to use you. An employee is under a contract OF service and has a wealth of employment legislation governing if/how they can be dismissed.

The grey area that exists is where the boundaries merge between independent contractors and employees. A series of tests was laid out in the 'Ready Mix Concrete' case (IIRC), which includes: Do you provide you own tools? Wear the employer's uniform? Who bears the financial risk? etc.
Think taxi driver - contractor, chauffeur - employee.

There is literally books of caselaw, review and committee reports on employment law relating to 'atypical' workers, which is changing rapidly. However, I don't think much of it is relevant here.

The arrangement you are describing is fairly common and is used for precisely the reason that formal employment is inconvenient in the building trade where business fluctuates. Whilst it seems unjust that personal issues may have influenced the decision, as an independent contractor, there probably isn't much hope for successful legal action under employment law.

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