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Recent case law | Delivery messengers, couriers…employees?  The Supreme Court says yes !

Recent case law | Delivery messengers, couriers…employees? The Supreme Court says yes !

Published on : 09/01/2019
The French Supreme Court recently handed down a very important decision for the rights of many workers in the web 2.0 economy.  For the first time it has ruled on the qualification of the contract linking a delivery worker to a digital platform: is the worker self-employed or an employee bound by an employment contract? The burden of social charges and reporting are significantly higher for companies in the second case.
 
The Court recalls its classic case law: the subordinate relationship is characterized by the performance of work under the authority of an employer who has the power to issue orders and directives, to supervise the execution and to punish the failings of the subordinate.
 
In the case at hand, French judges considered that the courier is bound by an employment contract to the company using a web platform to the extent that the application was equipped with a geolocation system allowing the real-time monitoring by the company of the position of the courier and the counting of the total number of kilometers traveled. Moreover, they noted that the company had a disciplinary authority with regard to the courier, as it could issue penalties against them.
 
These elements characterize the existence of a relationship of subordination between the deliveryman and the digital platform.
 
This decision could very probably lead to further litigation for companies operating on similar platforms, resulting in the re-characterization of their relationships into employment contracts.
 
Employers, take note! 

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