Delivery courier deemed to be a “worker”

In Stuart Delivery Ltd v Augustine, the delivery courier undertook fixed hourly slots for a delivery company.  He worked in an agreed zone and carried out deliveries that were offered to him via an app for an agreed hourly wage.  He was not permitted to work for other delivery companies during this time.  However, the delivery courier was able to release a delivery assigned to him to other couriers in the area.  If no other courier picked up the delivery, the delivery courier was required to carry out the delivery.  Whilst the delivery company tried to argue that the delivery courier was self-employed given that he could pass the delivery to another courier, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that this did not comprise a right of substitution.  The delivery courier had no control over whether or who would pick up a delivery that he had released and ultimately remained responsible for the delivery.  The delivery courier was therefore deemed to be a worker.

This is another case in a long line of recent employment status cases where individuals have been held to be workers rather than self-employed contractors.  Whilst every case will turn on its own facts, this case is another reminder of the importance of ensuring that both an organisation’s employment documentation and practices mirror the employment status that it wishes to accord to an individual.  Failing to do this could put an organisation on the hook for paying, amongst other things, the National Living Wage and holiday pay.