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Les­bian lawyer El­iz­a­beth Ge­orge fights to end zero hours con­tracts

Lawyers are not al­ways the most popular peo­ple in the world, but here’s one who might make you think twice about that judge­ment. El­iz­a­beth Ge­orge is a client-fo­cussed lawyer who has been de­scribed as a “bloody marvel”, and we couldn’t agree more.

The ex­pe­ri­enced em­ploy­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion bar­ris­ter heads a team of spe­cial­ist lawyers deal­ing with com­plex, high-value and high-pro­file claims, and she be­lieves in af­ford­able legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Ge­orge trans­ferred to the bar 10 years ago and has since made a name for her­self pas­sion­ately ad­vo­cat­ing for women’s equal­ity, cham­pi­oning flex­i­ble work­ing and chal­leng­ing misog­yny

WORDS

dis­guised as of­fice ban­ter. She was also named The Times’ Lawyer of the Week af­ter she suc­cess­fully acted for a preg­nant RAF of­fi­cer who was ex­pelled from the Falk­land Is­lands.

Re­cently, she went toe to toe with Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Vince Ca­ble over con­tro­ver­sial zero hours con­tracts, and be­cause of her tire­less work, re­tail chain Sports Di­rect have agreed to ma­jor changes for all zero hours staff.

“Zero hours work­ers are not sec­ond class work­ers,” Ge­orge said. “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.”

The case, which was sup­ported by 38 De­grees, has been de­scribed as a land­mark one, and although the zero hours battle isn’t yet won, be­cause of Ge­orge’s work the big­gest em­ploy­ers are tak­ing note and up­ping their game. Laura Town­shend from the cam­paign­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion said: “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.”

BAR­RIS­TER EL­IZ­A­BETH GE­ORGE IS A DRIV­ING FORCE IN THE CAM­PAIGN TO END ZERO HOURS CON­TRACTS

CAR­RIE LYELL

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