A group of riders from the British online food delivery company Deliveroo have reportedly settled their tribunal claims for an undisclosed sum.
50 couriers claimed they were incorrectly classed as self-employed contractors and argued they were in fact workers and therefore entitled to employment rights such as the minimum wage and paid holiday.
The undisclosed settlement figure, which is believed to be a six figure payment to be shared amongst the individuals, is further evidence of the risks associated when operating in the gig economy, namely that engaging the services of a self-employed contractor will not always automatically mean they will never been classed as a worker or an employee.
Deliveroo is the latest business in the gig economy to be hit by claims in the Employment Tribunal following other operators such as Hermes and Uber, as well as the recent high profile case in the Supreme Court affecting Pimlico Plumbers.
There have been calls for the Government to intervene and legislate, making it clearer for businesses when individuals are self-employed, a worker or an employee. Unfortunately this does not appear forthcoming any time soon, and therefore employment status will remain a complex area of employment for the foreseeable future, especially as individuals continue to question their employment status.
Naturally businesses will want to avoid paying any settlement payments similar to Deliveroo’s recent payout to their couriers. Therefore employers should follow best practice when recruiting, ensuring any contractual documentation for employees, workers and self-employed contractors reflects the reality of the working relationship. Failure to correctly identify a worker or employee could be very costly.