Delivery firm bans staff from employment tribunals

by Lucy Hook26 Jul 2016
Restaurant delivery firm Deliveroo is stating in its contracts for self-employed workers that they cannot take the company to an employment tribunal over their employment status, a UK paper reports.

A clause within the firm’s contract for its drivers states that the workers cannot take the company to a tribunal to try and become recognised as staff, and must pay Deliveroo’s costs if they do, The Guardian reports.

The clause reportedly states: “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 an employee or a worker.”

However, doubt has been cast over the enforceability of the clause.

Michael Newman, partner at law firm Leigh Day, told The Guardian: “Penalty clauses in contracts are unenforceable and it is likely that any clause attempting to bar access to an employment tribunal would be seen as without commercial justification and unconscionable, and therefore a penalty.”

He continued: “They’re put there to scare the worker. They are going to think twice before they do anything.”

The report is the latest to highlight the issue of employers’ liability to self-employed workers.

HC reported last week that a number of Uber drivers in the UK have taken the company to a tribunal over claims the taxi-app firm deliberately categorised them as self-employed to avoid paying national minimum wage and holiday pay.

The World Wrestling Federation (WWE) is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the US, brought by former wrestlers who claim the company classed them as ‘independent contractors’ to avoid liability under workers’ rights.

In response to the claims, Deliveroo said: “We provide a platform for people to work with us on a freelance basis. This allows riders to work flexibly around another commitment, like studying or other work. We’ve worked with legal experts to design our contracts to reflect that and we’re proud to be creating opportunities for over 5,000 riders across the UK.”

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