Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

Employee status in the gig economy

16 February 2018 #Employment

Over the last two years, there has been a steady stream of high-profile employment rights claims by individuals working in the gig economy (for Uber, Citysprint, Deliveroo, Hermes and many others).

In most of these cases, tribunals and courts have been persuaded that these individuals are not operating their own mini-businesses offering services to the tech platforms but are in fact workers with rights to national minimum wage/national living wage, holiday pay and sick pay.

To date, none of the cases have decided that the individuals have full employee status, which also brings sick leave, maternity pay, unfair dismissal and redundancy rights.

We predicted in November last year that this would be the next frontier in the battle over employment status.

Recently, the Doctors Laboratory (TDL), a company that provides pathology services, had argued that the cyclists, motorcyclists and van drivers it uses to carry emergency blood supplies were self-employed contractors without any employment rights.

However, this month as part of a settlement of an employment tribunal claim, TDL has admitted that some of those couriers are employees.

Does this open the floodgates to other claims for full employee status? Not directly, because this does not provide a precedent and because each case will come down to:

  • whether the business was obliged to provide work;
  • whether individuals were obliged to do that work and to do it themselves; and
  • the degree of control the business had over the way they worked.
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Russell  Dann

Russell Dann

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Employment team
+44 (0)118 958 5321