Speaking Deliveroo: whatever next?

Deliveroo has set out words and phrases that managers should use to describe its riders and their working practices in an attempt to fortify the company’s stance that its riders are self-employed, rather than workers. Checklists include use of terms such as “independent suppliers” instead of “staff, employee or worker”, “on boarding” instead of “hiring” and “supplier agreement” instead of “employment contract”.
The growing gig economy (click here to see our previous post) has seen a rising number of companies such as Deliveroo engaging thousands of individuals on a self-employed contractor basis, rather than workers or employees, to avoid paying holiday and sick pay.
However, Deliveroo is now facing claims that its riders are not self-employed, as working practices reveal Deliveroo couriers wear a mandatory Deliveroo-branded uniform, have formal appraisals and go through a series of interviews and online tests prior to taking on the role.
A pattern of claims is developing in the gig economy and the judges appear to be unsympathetic towards the language and terminology used by companies defending them. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether over time Deliveroo, and other companies emerging in the gig economy, will face further scrutiny from the courts on the different working practices that they adopt.

Helena Rozman

About Helena Rozman

Helena has experience in acting for both employees and employers covering both contentious and non-contentious work. Helena's experience includes defending Employment Tribunal claims and engaging in settlement negotiations; advising clients on complex disciplinary matters, exit strategies and large restructuring exercises, including TUPE and redundancy; co-ordinating and responding to data subject access requests; advising on the employment implications on business and asset purchases and outsourcing arrangements; project managing and advising clients on multi-jurisdictional projects with our international offices; drafting settlement agreements for exiting employees; advising on the employment aspects of corporate transactions and undertaking due diligence; and reviewing contracts, company handbooks and policies.

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