British online food delivery platform Deliveroo has reportedly been fined by a French court after it was found guilty of abusing the freelance status of its riders.
The company has been charged with a penalty of €375,000 ($405,637) for ‘systematic misrepresentation’ of its non-salaried delivery jobs.
In addition, two of its former managers were given suspended sentences and fined €30,000 ($32,433).
An investigation into the company’s administrative activities during the period from 2015 to 2017 found that the company had adopted ‘an almost permanent surveillance and control over riders’ work’.
Some of the measures adopted by the company were assigning long time slots as well as changing pay increase criteria and the time required to qualify as a rider.
Judge Sylvie Daunis was quoted in the report as saying that it was ‘a situation of almost permanent legal subordination’.
The court has asked the company to display the ruling on its French website for one month.
Meanwhile, Deliveroo said that it ‘categorically contests’ the ruling and was considering whether to appeal.
Reuters quoted a Deliveroo spokesperson as saying: “The judgement goes against previous decisions in civil courts covering the same historic period, which have repeatedly found riders to be self-employed.”
“While this case does not concern today’s operating model, we strongly disagree with this judgement and the basis on which it has been made, and we will appeal.”
The food delivery app launched in France in 2015. It will continue operations in the country.
Recently, Deliveroo and British supermarket chain Waitrose planned to expand their partnership to more than 70 additional Waitrose locations.