The omens seem to be stacking up for organizations operating in the gig economy after a UK court ruled that a “self-employed” cycle courier is in fact a genuine employee.
The Central London Employment Tribunal found that delivery firm CitySprint had wrongly classed employee Mages Dewhurst as a freelancer and unlawfully failed to award holiday pay.
Dewhurst, who has worked for the company for more than two years, did not receive a guaranteed wage, sick pay or holiday pay during her employment because she was considered an independent contractor rather than a fully-fledged employee.
However, according to a report by the Guardian, Judge Joanna Wade criticised CitySprint’s contractual arrangements as “contorted, indecipherable and window-dressing” before ordering the company to award basic employment rights.
The decision comes just months after the same tribunal found that UK Uber drivers should be considered employees rather than independent contractors. The case made shockwaves around the world and legal experts called the October decision ground-breaking.
“It will impact not just on the thousands of Uber drivers working in this country, but on all workers in the so-called gig economy whose employers wrongly classify them as self-employed and deny them the rights to which they are entitled,” said Nigel Mackay, from the employment team at law firm Leigh Day, which represented the drivers who brought the case against Uber.