[France] Deliveroo Found Guilty In ‘Undeclared Work’ Lawsuit

12 FEB 2020

In the latest ruling against 'gig economy' firms who insist their workers are not employees, a French court has found the British meal delivery group Deliveroo guilty of 'undeclared work' by a cyclist, Infosurhoy reports.

Kevin Mention - the cyclist’s lawyer - told AFP after the ruling that a Paris labour court judge had said paying the employee as an independent contractor rather than a regular employee 'was an attempt to skirt labour laws.'

The delivery driver joined the platform in 2015 and asked for a full-time contract the following year, his request was refused.

The court ordered Deliveroo to pay the cyclist 30,000 euros ($32,900) in damages.

A spokesman for the service said, 'It’s the first time Deliveroo has had to requalify a contract in France,' adding that 'we are going to study the decision and potentially file an appeal'.

'Our delivery people tell us that they want to choose when, where and if they want to work, and that’s what we let them do,' he added.

But the spokesperson did reportedly acknowledge that, in this case, the cyclist was still being paid by the hour, whereas Deliveroo now pays per delivery, adjusted for time and distance.

Deliveroo is facing further claims in Belgium that it should be paying payroll taxes for thousands of people delivering meals. Spanish authorities said it avoided 1.2 million euros in social charges by refusing to consider workers employees.

Mr Mention spoke of his intention to launch 'around 50 other labour cases against Deliveroo', and others against rival delivery groups Frichti and Stuart.

The Paris court ruling comes as Deliveroo is under investigation by Britain’s competition regulator over plans to sell a stake to US Amazon. Since its 2013 founding, Deliveroo has expanded to deliver meals to customers in over 200 cities across 12 countries.