Foodora’s contracts with its delivery riders are coming under scrutiny with reports that a company manager has raised concerns over the contracts’ legality.
In a leaked email reportedly seen by Fairfax, a Foodora key client manager allegedly contacted senior management in March suggesting the contracts are “concerning from a legal perspective” and advising that in their current form they would not hold up in court. The manager also urged the recipients to ensure the contracts are “watertight” and “meeting the minimum standards in Australia”.
Foodora is currently facing a number of cases in the Fair Work Commission that threaten to form a precedent on whether Foodora cyclists are independent contractors or employees entitled to minimum wage.
“Our rider contracts have many key words in them that would blur the lines between employment and contractor arrangements,” says the manager. “If just one rider laid a successful case, it could be devastating for us and could cause a domino-like effect with lawsuits.”
Foodora publicly states riders are free to work with other delivery providers, however the manager says he has seen emails where workers are “made to feel bad or dismissed for working for competitors”.
The food delivery company has commented on the situation, claiming the emails were not authorised by Foodora management and that they are the personal opinion of one staff member that “does not reflect the legal position of senior management or the company”.
The company also issued a statement to SmartCompany, claiming all riders are “lawfully engaged as independent contractors” and the company “has not been found by any court of law to have engaged in any malpractice in respect of engaging riders”.
A number of food delivery workers have brought cases against their respective companies in recent years. In the UK, Deliveroo was taken to the court by drivers who brought a case to the Central Arbitration Committee claiming they were entitled to minimum wages and regular hours, however the case ruled in the delivery company’s favour late last year, and the drivers were found to be “self-employed” individuals.
Image credit: SMH