Recent CJEU case suggests that a former Yodel driver did not have “worker” status
In the recent case of B v Yodel Delivery Network Ltd, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) concluded that there did not seem to be a relationship of subordination between B (a former parcel delivery driver for Yodel Delivery Network Limited (“Yodel”)) and Yodel, suggesting that B did not have “worker” status.
B’s contract with Yodel provided that he was a “self-employed independent contractor”, who was free to choose the times and routes of his deliveries and even work for Yodel’s competitors. Moreover, Yodel was under no obligation to provide B with work and equally, B did not have to accept any such work. Most importantly, he was not required to perform any deliveries personally and could appoint a substitute (with the caveat that Yodel could reject such substitute for reasons of inadequate skills or qualifications).
B made a claim for holiday pay under the EU Working Time Directive. The CJEU noted that the essential feature of an employment relationship is subordination (i.e. the employee performs services for and under the direction of his or her employer in return for remuneration).
An independent contractor (as the name suggests) should on the other hand be free to choose the type of work and tasks to be performed, the manner in which those tasks are to be executed, the time and place of work and should also have the ability to select his or her own staff. If this independence is merely fictitious, the independent contractor could be deemed to be a worker under EU law.
Although CJEU concluded that B’s independence seemed to be genuine and that there did not seem to be a relationship of subordination between him and Yodel, Watford Employment Tribunal (as the referring court) will have the final say in respect of B’s worker status.
For more information on this update, please contact Employment Solicitor Andra Stanton.