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Deliveroo pays out in employment rights claim

50 Deliveroo riders have received compensation before claim heard at Employment Tribunal

Posted on 29 June 2018

Deliveroo has paid compensation to fifty Deliveroo riders who brought claims for employment rights, in yet another success for workers in the gig economy.
The riders, represented by law firm Leigh Day, all worked as couriers for the food delivery company. Deliveroo labelled the riders as self-employed suppliers. Lawyers from the employment team at Leigh Day argued that this was unlawful and denied riders their employment rights, including the National Minimum Wage and paid holiday.
Annie Powell, a solicitor in Leigh Day’s employment department who represented the riders, said:
“Deliveroo has paid out a material sum to settle these claims. In our view, this shows that Deliveroo knew that they were very likely to lose at the Employment Tribunal.
“This settlement will make a real difference to our clients’ lives. Some of the riders we represented were on the bread line, earning hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds below the National Minimum Wage over the time that they worked for Deliveroo.
“However, there are thousands of other Deliveroo riders who have  not yet received any compensation for Deliveroo’s refusal to provide basic employment rights.
“We are calling on Deliveroo to change their practices now, to ensure that riders are paid at least the minimum wage and receive holiday pay.
“We also believe that Deliveroo should implement a compensation scheme for all riders who worked under the contract in question in this case, and all previous contracts. This scheme should compensate riders for Deliveroo’s failure to pay the National Minimum Wage as well as paid holiday. 
“If Deliveroo fails to compensate riders voluntarily, then current and former riders can bring further claims.
“At the moment, a company like Deliveroo can falsely label their employees as independent contractors, deny them employment rights and protections, pay them below the minimum wage, and then force those workers to take legal action to obtain what they were entitled to from the beginning. 
“We therefore hope that the current Parliamentary inquiry into Deliveroo’s practices will consider such a compensation scheme as well as the experiences of the riders who brought this claim.”
Scott McEvoy, one of the 50 riders who brought a claim, said:
“From being at Deliveroo only a short time I realised riders should not be classed as self-employed because of many reasons at that time such as being told when we could and could not work, being monitored and disciplined due to stats and not being allowed to use someone to cover a shift. I used the 'am I self-employed' calculator on the gov.uk website and the way Deliveroo operated we were not classed as self-employed.
“It was clear Deliveroo were more focused on profits than paying its riders what they deserve. Some riders were paid pennies and some were treated very badly including some young riders who were dismissed because Deliveroo decided they were too young.
“Something had to be done to the fast food giant that is Deliveroo to ensure its riders were protected. The fact that Deliveroo has paid out compensation is a victory for us riders and I hope they will take the time to change how they operate and we can finally see the end of the gig economy” 

Facts of the case

The following were key facts claimed in this case:
  • All fifty riders worked shifts for Deliveroo;
  • Deliveroo instructed riders that they must be available to work at least two weekend shifts each week;
  • Riders were punished for poor attendance, with disciplinary action ranging from warnings to dismissal;
  • Deliveroo monitored riders by tracking them on GPS and produced weekly performance statistics for each rider. Performance management by Deliveroo’s managers ranged from one-to-one meetings with riders to discuss their performance, formal warnings in which riders were told that if they did not improve then their contracts would be terminated, and dismissal;
  • Deliveroo reduced riders’ shifts as a way of punishing poor performance and poor attendance;
  • Managers informed riders that they were not permitted to arrange for another Deliveroo rider to cover their shift without obtaining Deliveroo’s permission, and on numerous occasions Deliveroo denied such permission. One manager explained that the reason for this was to uphold Deliveroo’s disciplinary system of removing shifts, writing “…there is a culture forming of people wriggling out of shifts they don’t want to do. Not can’t do… A line has to be drawn and procedure has to be followed. Example…rider 1 has been disaplined [sic] due to poor attendance/performance as a result had his hours reduced. Driver 2 feels like a night off and sticks it on whatsapp. Rider 1 says I’ll do it. No disapline [sic] has been enforced. Trust me you don’t want to push driver opps regarding this as they have zero tolerance.”
  • Riders were required to wear the Deliveroo uniform;
  • Riders were managed by a line manager known as a “Rider Lead” and also by a Regional Manager known as an “Operations Associate”. A few examples of management instructions to riders are as follows: 
    • Leeds Rider Lead to riders: “Every single order needs to be completed with a sense of urgency, even if we're quiet. There are no exceptions to this - this is a performance related job 
    • While you're logged in on shift - everything is recorded and scrutinised. If you're not performing you won't be given hours, it really is that simple”
    • Coventry Rider Lead: “when a person fails to show up, he's in trouble, but I still need a person to cover him and I'll deal with the offender myself”

National Minimum Wage

A few examples of the National Minimum Wage claims brought by the riders in this case are as follows:
Even before taking account of expenses such as bike repairs, one rider was paid £538.14 below the National Minimum Wage in his first eight weeks of working for Deliveroo.

Lead Claimant Ashley Christie, who worked for Deliveroo for just over a year, claimed £2,541.31 in underpayment of National Minimum Wage - this took into account essential work-related expenses such as petrol and bike repairs.