For the first time the French Supreme Court has held that delivery riders working for online delivery platforms are employees rather than self-employed workers.

A rider filed a claim before the employment tribunal to obtain the requalification of the self-employed relationship with Take Eat Easy into an employment contract. The employment tribunal and the Court of appeal rejected the claim on the basis that there were no exclusivity or non-competition obligations, and the rider could decide on their own working hours, or even decide not to work.

The question as to the existence of an employment relationship between the rider and the platform was therefore brought before the Supreme Court. In a landmark decision on 28 November 2018 the Supreme Court overturned the Court of appeal decision, on the basis that:

  • the app included a geo-tracking system to monitor the rider’s position in real time and record the number of kilometers ridden, and did not simply limit its involvement to connecting restaurants, clients and delivery riders; and
  • the company held disciplinary power over the delivery rider (in particular based on the bonus/penalty system applied by the platform), and would give the rider instructions and monitor performance in a similar way to conventional employers. Online delivery platforms will need to review their current systems and management methods or risk significant de-facto employment claims from their riders.

Cass. Soc. 28 November 2018 n°17-20.079