This has been a long-running legal battle between the takeaway delivery app and the Independent Workers Union of GB, which represents people working in the gig economy.
Deliveroo has argued that the riders are self-employed and therefore should not receive the rights of 'workers' who are employed.
A series of rulings since 2017 have now been upheld by the Court of Appeal who found that the drivers cannot be classified as 'workers.
A key factor in the decision is that the terms of engagement for the drivers permit 'substitution' - allowing someone else to carry out a delivery for them.
This is a key difference between the Deliveroo drivers and the online minicab drivers who Uber who were recently found to be 'workers' in an earlier Supreme Court ruling and subsequently claimed employment rights. (See: Latest Uber development highlights complexity of worker classification - Mar 2021, Shout99)
Employment status experts, Qdos, note that this case exposed the confusing nature of employment law and status determination.
Seb Maley from Qdos, said: “This is a big blow to Deliveroo riders and many other gig economy workers who feel they deserve employment rights.
"It also shows that the recent Uber ruling may not have set a precedent after all. Although, we might not have heard the last of this case and I wouldn’t be surprised if another appeal is lodged.
“The case exposes the confusing nature of employment law, which leaves millions of people in no man’s land, unsure of whether they’re self-employed, a worker or employed. Like the recent Uber case, it also proves that making well-informed employment status decisions that all parties agree to from day one is vital.
"Misunderstandings and mistakes pose a big threat to businesses, that could face legal problems and even tax liabilities further down the line.
“The riders could provide a substitute, which was key in them being seen as self-employed. It means they didn’t deliver their services personally, as an employee does. But that’s not to say just having the right to sub in someone else shows a person is self-employed. A host of factors must be considered before employment status is set.”
Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including other controversial employment status cases, see Shout99's News on IR35 section.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2021