Employment LawGeneral News

UK Supreme Court rules that Deliveroo riders are not Employees

By November 28, 2023 No Comments
Deliveroo drivers

In a much-anticipated judgment, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Deliveroo riders are not employees.

Seeking collective bargaining rights

Deliveroo riders in the UK had spent years advocating for collective bargaining rights as part of a union, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain. They have been seeking more protections as workers, which would not usually be available to independent contractors. They case had previously been unsuccessful before England’s High Court and the Court of Appeal. The union appealed to the Supreme Court and the case was heard earlier this year.

No employment relationship

Judgment was delivered last week by the UK Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal, ruling against the union. The court determined that no employment relationship exists between the riders and the Deliveroo company. The court found that the riders were not employees but rather independent contractors. The court set out the important circumstances in the relationship between the parties, which meant it was inconsistent with an employment relationship. The contract between the riders and Deliveroo gives riders right to appoint a substitute to take on their jobs. Deliveroo did not terminate riders’ contracts for failing to accept a certain number of orders or failing to make themselves available for work. The riders had the freedom to work as much or as little as was convenient to them. There was no issue with the riders working for another competitor at the same time as they worked for Deliveroo. These factors, according to the UK Supreme Court, did not reflect a genuine employment relationship.

The judgment will have significant impact on gig-economy workers in the UK and comes in contrast to a recent Irish decision. The Irish Supreme Court recently ruled, in a case in involving Domino’s Pizza delivery drivers, that they were in fact employees and not independent contractors, as the company had argued. The facts of each case and the working relationships were different so it is not determinative of how the Irish courts might rule on the status of Deliveroo riders in Ireland.

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