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Spain – Deliveroo withdraws appeal in employment rights case

08 November 2018

Human cloud food courier firm Deliveroo has withdrawn its appeal against a ruling by a Spanish court that a Deliveroo rider should have been treated as an employee and not as self-employed.

The ruling dates back to June 2018 when the Valencia court said Deliveroo was not allowed to dismiss rider Victor Sanchez in the way it did when it fired him for ‘lack of availability’. The court said that he should have been treated as an employee and not a self-employed contractor and said that the dismissal was inappropriate.

Deliveroo then filed an appeal days after the decision against the Valencia Court’s ruling. However, Sanchez announced that Deliveroo had withdrawn its appeal which makes the decision definitive and means that Deliveroo must now compensate Sanchez for unfair dismissal and must repay him €700.

This effectively means that Sanchez was an employee and not self-employed.

The food courier firm’s reasons for withdrawing its appeal was because the costs of the appeal far exceed the sum of the dispute and added that it will have the opportunity to "defend its model" in another, more extensive trial expected on 25 February 2019 in Valencia, which will involve hundreds of riders.

Labour lawyer Natxo Parra, of the Colectivo Ronda, told LeMonde.fr that it was likely Deliveroo wanted to avoid going to the Valencia Superior Court which would rule on the case and possibly create a new case law.

"When a higher court decides, it becomes more difficult to obtain a different results for a similar case, " Parra said. “Deliveroo probably prefers not to have this liability before the February trials that concern hundreds of workers begins.”

Deliveroo is already involved in legal action over employment rights in other European countries. Last year, a number of Deliveroo riders in the UK took legal action against the food courier over their employment status. Deliveroo then paid out 50 of its riders a six-figure payout in a settlement. In the Netherlands, a Deliveroo courier launched a lawsuit against the company’s decision to replace all of its employed couriers in the Netherlands with freelancers (known as zzp’ers in the Netherlands).

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