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Bike Courier Deemed ‘worker’ in Recent Case, Echoing earlier UBER Case

An employment tribunal has held that a cycle courier for Citysprint was a worker under section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, rather than being in business on her own account, in a case which shares some similarities with the tribunal ruling against Uber in October 2016 .  As a result, the courier’s claim for paid holiday was upheld.
A worker is defined under section 230(3) of the ERA 1996 as an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under):
  • A contract of employment. (That is to say, someone who also meets the definition of employee under section 230(1) of the ERA 1996.)
  • Any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual. (This is sometimes referred to as the limb (b) worker test.)
The above definition is also found in regulation 2(1) of the WTR 1998 and section 54(3) of the NMWA 1998.

Both cases discussed issues of control and mutuality of obligation, and in both cases dismissed the contractual documentation which had been created by the firms to seek to impose a status of ‘self-employed contractor’; stating that this did not reflect the true nature of the employment relationship existing between the parties. Instead, the Tribunal chose to consider the reality of the situation, and in both cases found that ‘worker’ status applied, thereby entitling the claimants to additional related benefits.


This is the first of four employment status cases which are being brought in the London Central Employment Tribunal against courier companies.


Posted in: Employment

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