Deliveroo Workers Must Pay All Employment Tribunal Costs

A recent investigation into the employment criteria of the popular restaurant food delivery service Deliveroo revealed there is a shocking clause in the company’s contracts for self employed workers which prevents them from receiving the same employment rights of other employees.

The Guardian is reporting that the company’s cyclist employees are not legally entitled to bring Deliveroo to employment tribunal unless they they pay for all the expenses the company occurs in the process.

The Deliveroo contract reportedly words this rule as follows: “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.”

Deliveroo wages are also under the microscope as they are considered barely satisfactory as each employee earns just £7 an hour, with an additional £1 for each delivery they make. This barely reaches minimum wage.

Moreover, it appears there are few other benefits available for self-employed Deliveroo workers who are also expected to pay their own national insurance. The business has been very successful since its founding in 2010 and is estimated to have generated around £158 million in revenue thus far.

The legality of making workers pay for tribunal costs has its roots in 2013 alterations that resulted in employees being held responsible for all costs accrued at tribunal should their claim prove unsuccessful. However, many legal professionals are claiming that Deliveroo’s current position is unlawful and is actually just an effort to to intimidate workers and deter them from legal action.

Deliveroo is already experiencing a backlash for these rules. The company has released the following statement: “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.”

Deliveroo is not the only service-based company currently being analysed. There has also been much focus on how drivers of the taxi-hailing mobile app Uber are currently locked in a court case against the company in the hope of adding greater employment rights to their contract, such as a standard living wage, sick payments and a pension scheme.

Delivery firm contracts were scrutinised earlier this year when The Guardian investigated Hermes courier service, which was revealed to be paying many of its workers below national minimum wage despite the company’s claim to the contrary.

The Hermes analysis recently became a political affair after Birkenhead MP Frank Field officially requested for Theresa May to launch a review of existing legislation for self-employment contracts so that British workers easily understand the legality of self employment contracts, thus preventing exploitive conduct occurring.

Whether the situation involving Deliveroo and Uber will turn into a investigation like that of Hermes remains to be seen.

Will Brexit Change Employment Law Rights?

Now that everybody has finally gotten over the shock of Britain choosing to leave the EU, the government can begin the process of evaluating, and if necessary reordering, elements of UK employment law across various working sectors.

But what exactly can employers and employees expect to see changed? Will anything actually be altered?

David Davis, the B Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, has hinted that no radical changes will be taken. Posting his views on the Conservative Home website, he states: “All the empirical studies show that it is not employment regulation that stultifies economic growth, but all the other market-related regulations, many of them wholly unnecessary”.

However, a Britain now free of EU regulations has a huge number of opportunities available that will surely at least be considered. Read on for an insightful, although admittedly speculative, assessment of what the consequences of Brexit could be for UK employment.

Abolishing EU law
The remain campaign was insistent that many of the employment benefits we currently enjoy were implemented by the EU. However, a quick review of this claim shows that much of the existing legislation was actually formed via British courts, much of it in accordance with The Equality Act 2010.

Any effort to dismantle these existing laws would be difficult to undertake due to the unrest it may cause if the expectations that workers are accustomed to get removed. The government will not want to make any disturbances that pose a threat to the current unity of UK employment law.

Before Brexit, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested that there would be a “bonfire of rights” if Britain left the EU. For example, can you imagine how unpopular the government would be if the current employment legislation relating to constructive dismissal, discrimination rights and working time regulations were altered?

Not making major changes to existing law also means there will likely not be no major break from the guidelines presented by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and European Court of Justice (ECJ), thereby quietly re-enforcing certain aspects of EU employment law regardless of the freedom Brexit brings.

Rather than change existing laws, it is just far more likely that any new EU legislation passed in Brussels will find much less support for implementation into British law and be judged more sharply.

Curbing immigration
A large reason for the Brexit vote was concern over immigration, and removing the EU Freedom Of Movement law will certainly create major changes for UK employment practices.

Business owners must be aware of the forthcoming new rules for hiring migrants and what the consequences will be for not following them. Those EU workers already in Britain are likely to be granted permission to stay, but hiring new EU employees will probably soon reflect the legislation familiar with non-EU countries, such as the point-based migration system used in Australia.

Holiday allowance
One area of employment law that is likely to undergo alteration is holiday allowance. The allowance that UK workers currently enjoy is a result of the EU Working Time Directive; legislation that clearly details the holidays an employee is entitled to in accordance with their contract. However, industry personnel are expecting considerable alteration to this area of law, and Frances O’Grady of the Trade Union Congress recently stated that the six million Trade Union members whose employment corresponds specifically with the Working Time Directive will be heavily affected.

The most probable changes to holiday allowance will involve the means by how holiday pay is calculated, and the various controversies that surround the 48-hour working week. Although, the extent of these changes are unlikely to be large. David Davis has noted the unfairness that swift changes could cause: “The great British industrial working classes voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. I am not at all attracted by the idea of rewarding them by cutting their rights.”

Transfer of undertakings
One area of employment law that has proved unpopular with UK businesses is the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, commonly known as TUPE.

Since TUPE was first introduced in 1981, it has been the primary legislation to protect worker rights in situations where there has been a transfer of undertakings or service provision alteration, as outlined in the agreement of their contract,

Brexit may prove to be the perfect opportunity for the government to alter TUPE, but such changes will likely be made gradually to avoid employee upset. Because TUPE plays a strong role in protecting workers, Unions must also be vigilant when challenges by big businesses appear. David Davis has noted that “Britain has a relatively flexible workforce, and so long as the employment law environment stays reasonably stable it should not be a problem for business.”

Exactly when employment law changes will take effect is unclear, but Theresa May has spoken about of her intention to wait for the government to agree better trade deals before Article 50, the official name given to the formal notice of leaving the EU, is implemented.