The meal delivery platform Deliveroo was convicted in France for concealed employment following the requalification of the service contract of one of its couriers in a work contract. This is the first case of its kind in the country.
A delivery man using a bike who had worked for Deliveroo from 2015 requested the requalification of his contract in a work contract. “This has been a very long fight, begun in 2016,” his lawyer Kevin Mention stated.
A litigation judge at the business disputes tribunal in Paris ruled that Deliveroo was guilty of concealed employment. “This is a first time (conviction) for Deliveroo in France,” the lawyer emphasised.
The court “recognised that the act of obliging the courier to have a service contract displayed a will on Deliveroo’s part to defraud the labour code and sentenced the company to pay 30,000 euros to the delivery man,” according to Mention.
“This is the first re-qualification case in France for Deliveroo,” a spokesperson for the British platform confirmed. “We shall examine this decision and appeal in due course,” he added.
“The delivery men tell us they want a choice of when, where and whether they wish to work and that’s what we allow them to do,” Deliveroo maintains.
“This 2015 case relates to our former model,” the spokesperson continued. Contractual conditions have since changed at Deliveroo, with couriers being paid by the delivery at variable rates depending on the time and distance of each delivery, and not by the hour.
The freelance status of Deliveroo couriers and its competitors is contested in many countries and several court decisions have already been made in favour of the delivery men.
In Belgium, the delivery platform stands accused of not paying any social insurance contributions for thousands of couriers working for it there.
In Spain, the courts considered that Deliveroo classed as freelance hundreds of delivery men who should have been declared as salaried staff, thereby avoiding the payment of €1.2 million in social insurance contributions.
In France, Kevin Mention intends to “launch some fifty proceedings in the business court against Deliveroo as well as proceedings against Frichti and against Stuart.”
There have already been “some sixty re-qualification requests validated” by the business courts in France against Take Eat Easy, a Belgian platform liquidated in 2016, “and a further hundred or so proceedings underway.” Foodora, no longer active in France, is itself the subject “of around 90 proceedings.”