To sue, or not to sue? If only you had the choice

The so called “gig-economy” has received a lot of bad press lately with companies including Uber, City Sprint and Deliveroo all receiving criticism for attempting to circumvent their legal obligations as employers.

The media attention however has had some unexpected benefits and Deliveroo has now amended its contracts of employment and has removed its standard clause which prevents workers from bringing tribunal against it. The clause, which was arguably unenforceable anyway, was removed after its legality was questioned by a group of MPs.

In an attempt to defend itself the Company suggested that the clauses was never invoked in practice but no comment was made about the rationale for including the clause within the contracts in the first place if this was the case. It is likely that the clause was included within the contracts to deter workers with limited or no knowledge of UK employment laws from bringing legal claims challenging their employment status.

The issue of employment status does seem to be nearing a resolution however many gig-economy employers still do not provide workers with basic employment rights such as sick pay, national minimum wage or holiday pay. This issue is being pursued but the response from the gig-economy is that they would not be able to offer so many jobs if they had to fund greater employment benefits. The law however is clear, unless someone is genuinely self employed then they individual will always receive basic employment rights and so it remains to be seen what will happen in this respect.

If you would like to discuss any matters relating to employment status or employee rights, then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our advisory team on 01274 864999.

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