Deliveroo found guilty of abusing passenger rights in France

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PARIS, April 19 (Reuters) – Two former bosses of Deliveroo (ROO.L) were given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 30,000 euros ($32,380) by a French court on Tuesday for abusing the freelance status of runners working for the British takeaway delivery platform.

The company was also fined up to 375,000 euros and will have to publish the court decision on Deliveroo’s French homepage for a month.

The decision could have repercussions outside of France, as the gig economy, based largely on digital apps and freelancers, faces a number of legal challenges that could redefine working conditions.

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Deliveroo shares, which have lost more than 70% of their value since listing at 390p in March 2021, were trading down 6.5% to 106.5p on Tuesday.

Deliveroo said in a statement that it “categorically contests” the French court’s decision and plans to appeal. It will maintain operations in the French market, he added.

Its statement said the court’s decision referred to an early version of its operating model and had no bearing on how it operates today.

“Our model has since evolved to be more in line with the expectations of our delivery partners, who wish to remain independent…Deliveroo will continue to operate with a model that offers these independent providers a flexible and well-paid business,” said said the company.

Former riders have sued Deliveroo for alleged abuse of their freelance status and claim the company should have hired them as employees.

Under French law, the status of employee gives rise to rights, in particular unemployment benefits, social security contributions and pensions.

($1 = 0.9268 euros)

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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris, additional reporting by Paul Sandle in London; Editing by GV De Clercq and Barbara Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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