In August 2017 the Employment Tribunal decided that a cycle courier working for Addison Lee was a “worker” under UK employment law and not self-employed.  This meant that he was entitled to holiday pay.

The contract between Addison Lee and the courier Mr Gascoigne stated specifically that he was an independent contractor with no legal obligation to accept work.  However, as with so many “Gig Economy” cases the Tribunal looked at the economic reality of the situation and decided that when Mr Gascoigne was logged onto the Addison Lee courier app using his company palmtop computer he would accept all jobs that were sent to him unless there were exceptional circumstances such as having a puncture.  There was no Decline button on the app and he felt pressured to keep his controller happy so that he would receive more work.  This obligation meant that in reality Mr Gascoigne was not an independent contractor but rather a worker and entitled to holiday pay for a period in March 2016.

Addison Lee appealed this Tribunal decision, claiming that it was incorrect and the multi-factored decision process they used to arrive at the decision was perverse.

Addison Lee cycle couriers are workers

On 11 May 2018 the Employment Appeal Tribunal delivered its verdict that the original Tribunal had been correct and Mr Gascoigne was indeed a worker for the reasons the Tribunal had given.  This is something of a blow for Addison Lee who have now lost two Employment Tribunals – their van couriers were also found to be workers in a judgement in September 2017.

For expert advice on employee/worker/self-employed status or any other employment law issue, contact us today to book a free initial consultation with one of our specialist employment law solicitors.

The Backhouse Solicitors Employment Team

Tel:         01245 893400