Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership | This website contains attorney advertising.
January 31, 2017

Latest "Gig Economy" Case: Courier Held to Be a Worker

In the latest in a string of cases concerning the employment status of those working in the “gig economy”, the Employment Tribunal in Dewhurst v City Sprint UK Ltd ET2202512/2016 considered whether a courier was a worker or a self-employed contractor.

Ms Dewhurst, a cycle courier, brought a claim against the courier company, CitySprint, alleging that she was a worker, and not a self-employed contractor. As with all its couriers, CitySprint had required Ms Dewhurst to sign up to a contractual document purporting to treat her as a self-employed contractor. However, the Employment Tribunal found this did not reflect the reality of the situation, which was that Ms Dewhurst was a worker. In particular, it found that she was integrated into CitySprint’s business and had little autonomy when performing her work, these being characteristics of worker status. In coming to this decision, it took into account a number of factors including the following: (i) the couriers worked under the direction of a controller; (ii) they were required to wear a CitySprint uniform; (iii) they had a very limited right to appoint a substitute; and (iii) although the contractual document referred to couriers invoicing CitySprint, in reality CitySprint calculated the amounts due and paid them weekly. As a worker, Ms Dewhurst will benefit from certain rights which are not available to self-employed contractors, including the right to the national minimum wage, rest breaks and paid annual leave.

While this decision (as a first instance decision) is not binding, it does signal a clear shift in the treatment of those working in the gig economy and comes hot off the heels of a similar decision last year concerning Uber drivers: Uber Drivers Are Workers, Not Self-Employed Contractors.

The material contained in this communication is informational, general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. The material contained in this communication should not be relied upon or used without consulting a lawyer to consider your specific circumstances. This communication was published on the date specified and may not include any changes in the topics, laws, rules or regulations covered. Receipt of this communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In some jurisdictions, this communication may be considered attorney advertising.

Related Legal Services

The Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP website uses cookies to make your browsing experience as useful as possible. In order to have the full site experience, keep cookies enabled on your web browser. By browsing our site with cookies enabled, you are agreeing to their use. Review Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP's cookies information for more details.