Cycling to Work?
Last month a tribunal found that a CitySprint bicycle courier should be classed as a worker, rather than self-employed as described in their written agreement.
Although this ruling has been made on the basis of the specific details of the case, the judgment in Dewhurst v CitySprint UK Ltd could have wider implications for the those employers often described as being in the “gig economy” that claim their workers undertake services on a self-employed basis and that the individuals effectively run their own businesses. It follows on from a similar ruling with regards to Uber drivers last year.
In this case, the tribunal found that Maggie Dewhurst should be entitled to basic employment rights such as holiday pay, sick pay and the national living wage. She has worked for CitySprint for the past two years, during which time the contract between CitySprint and Ms Dewhurst classed her as an independent contractor, despite her role being more like that of a worker.
The Tribunal judge called CitySprint’s contractual arrangements “contorted”, “indecipherable” and “window dressing”. The rider stated to the tribunal that she spends all day, “being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it.” Saying that in essence she was under the control of the company.
CitySprint has not confirmed whether or not it will appeal the decision, but said it was reviewing the ruling “in detail”.
The case has certain similarities to a recent “gig economy” case against taxi firm Uber, which took place in October last year. In that case the tribunal found that Uber drivers should be classed as workers and therefore eligible for basic employment rights. Uber is intending to appeal against that finding.
There are also a number of other outstanding legal challenges with courier companies that are likely to appear this year.
If you run a company and have individuals working for you on, what you believe to be, a self-employed basis, and are concerned about the implications of this case, please get in touch to discuss your situation.
Posted on 07 Feb 2017