...demanding employment rights
Following in the footsteps of Uber’s drivers, self-employed cyclists working for Deliveroo are challenging clauses in their contracts prohibiting them from taking the company to court for more employment rights – including the right to be recognised as staff members.
Unsatisfied with their contracts and their limited rights as staff, cyclists working for Deliveroo are seeking more employment rights from the delivery company – which they will receive if they are given the status of staff members.
The contracts stipulate that staff cannot take Deliveroo to an employment tribunal if they want to change their employment status:
“You further warrant that neither you nor anyone acting on your behalf will present any claim in the employment tribunal or any civil court in which it is contended that you are either any employee or a worker.”
Interestingly, the contracts also contain a clause stating that if staff do take the company to court, they’re responsible for paying all legal costs – including Deliveroo’s:
“…indemnify and keep indemnified Deliveroo against costs (including legal costs) and expenses that it incurs”.
Fair Access To Employment Rights
The clauses in the contracts have been reported as being tactics used to “scare the worker” and discourage them from taking any legal action. Adding to the controversy, Deliveroo’s inclusion of a penalty clause in the contracts is proving problematic as these types of clauses in employment contracts are generally unenforceable.
Deliveroo isn’t the only company that has come under fire from its staff recently. Drivers working for Uber are locked in a similar court battle with the taxi giant, as they demand to be acknowledged as workers – who receive access to benefits such as sick pay, paid holidays, and the national minimum wage.
Zee Hussain, Partner and Head of Corporate Services, comments on this controversial case:
“Whilst Deliveroo have attempted to protect their business from a staff revolt, they might discover that the clause stating their staff must pay all legal costs – known as an indemnification clause – presents them with more trouble than they initially thought.
“This is because these types of clauses should be used in specific – and appropriate – contexts whereby a company can be compensated for specific losses they might incur, rather than being used as ways of deterring staff from taking legal action.
“This is the second big case to emerge recently surrounding employment rights, and if the cyclists – and the drivers in the Uber case – were to successfully win their cases this might prompt a change in employment law in the UK.”
Written by Zee Hussain
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