November 16, 2017

Employment Tribunal rules Deliveroo ‘riders’ are self-employed

Deliveroo, the popular food delivery business, have won an Employment Tribunal case that clarifies that their delivery riders, are in fact, self-employed.

The decision was a surprise to many legal experts given the recent rulings against gig economy firms. Legal experts have said that the ruling will complicate future questions of employment status.

Only last week, an Employment Appeal Tribunal found that Uber divers were workers, and not self-employed as Uber was claiming.

Surprisingly, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAT) ruled that Deliveroo riders are technically self-employed. Because the riders are able to substitute in other riders to take their place on any given job, the CAT were convinced enough that this major difference from the Uber case, warranted categorising the riders as self-employed.

The Deliveroo ruling had been expected to follow the recent path of judges and tribunals rejecting businesses claims of self-employment however the ruling surprised many industry experts by bucking the trend and backing the employer. The recent contractual change that

Deliveroo’s HR and Employment Law team inserted (the riders’ ability to substitute in other riders) was seen as key to being awarded the decision.

Interestingly, recent cases with CitySprint and Uber focused more on what happened ‘in practice’ during a normal business day rather than the wording of the contracts themselves.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWUGB), the Union that brought the claim, said that this ruling showed ‘riders’ disappointment with their T&C’s.

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, spokesman for IWUGB said in “It seems that after a series of defeats, finally a so-called gig economy company has found a way to game the system.”

This will be seen as a blow for the Union’s as they were keen to expand their reach into the gig economy.

Caroline wood, Director of HR Heroes says, “This ruling shows how the clarification of workers needs to be simplified. The line is far to grey between worker, self-employed and contractor that there needs to be some clarification to help businesses understand what contracts they need to be issuing and what type of employment they can offer”.

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