In a very recent Fair Work Commission Case, it has been found that the Deliveroo Driver in an unfair dismissal claim context was an employee not an independent contractor contrary to the supply agreement drafted by Deliveroo through the Deliveroo rider app.
The Deliveroo driver had worked for Deliveroo for 3 years. He was inducted according to their system and also worked for Uber Eats and Door Dash.
He was given warnings by Deliveroo and an investigation by Deliveroo found that the driver had, in Deliveroo’s view, significantly delayed delivery times. Ultimately Deliveroo found that the driver’s times were unacceptably delayed and his supply agreement was terminated.
The driver unsuccessfully sought to persuade Deliveroo to reconsider their position and they terminated his supply agreement and blocked his access to the Deliveroo app and platform.
The driver commenced unfair dismissal proceedings in the Fair Work Commission seeking reinstatement, continuity of service and backpay.
Deliveroo argued that the driver was an independent contractor not an employee and therefore could not bring an unfair dismissal case.
The Commission considered the ‘multifactorial’ approach when assessing the case and noted:
On balance, the Commission found the engagement was one of employment and found that there was no valid reason for the dismissal and termination of the driver’s services without proper warning. The dismissal was held to be unjust, unreasonable and harsh, and reinstatement was ordered.
Interestingly, the Commission made comments regarding these type of cases involving gig economy players:
Again, this case proves that this is a very complex area of the law and each case is different and turns on its own facts. The ground that gig-economies stand on is becoming very shaky, and this decision may soon extend to other industries and the engagement of independent contractors.
We have been advising clients on this area of the law for more than 30 years and can advise businesses as to their legal rights and obligations under existing or new arrangements and also advise businesses on how to best engage employees or contractors.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more or have any queries. We are here to help.
The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.