The latest appeals court ruling is the fourth judgment in the U.K. that supports Deliveroo’s contention that its riders are self-employed, following earlier judgments by the Central Arbitration Committee and two at the High Court. The case concerned the Independent Workers’ Union’s attempt to unionize a portion of the service’s delivery riders operating around Camden.
The decision comes months after the U.K.’s Supreme Court ruled that Uber’s drivers must be treated as “workers,” a legal status that gives people rights such as a guaranteed minimum wage and paid vacation time. That ruling was largely based on the control Uber exerted over its drivers, including their ability to log them out of the app.
What cinched the win for Deliveroo, in this case, was it’s hands-off approach to riders subcontracting the deliveries they accepted. The fact that Deliveroo’s riders do not have an obligation to provide services personally was a material factor.
An individual is a worker if they work (or normally work or seek to work):
(a) under a contract of employment; or
(b) under any other contract whereby they undertake to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract who is not a professional client of theirs.
The case turned on the second of these categories – the so-called “limb (b)” worker definition. Deliveroo succeeded because the Central Arbitration Committee found that Deliveroo riders had a genuine right to use a substitute to perform deliveries.
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