An application by Amazon to strike out claims from drivers who believe they should be classed as employees has been refused by an employment tribunal.
More than 2,000 drivers for the retail tech giant have joined legal action which could lead to it having to pay out hefty compensation.
The action, brought by lawyers at Leigh Day, has seen drivers – who are currently classed as self-employed independent contractors – seeking holiday pay, the national minimum wage, the right to an employment contract, breach of contract and unauthorised deductions from wages.
The drivers currently make deliveries on behalf of Amazon via the companies’ “Delivery Service Partners”.
Lawyers have, however, brought the claims against Amazon, arguing that they are responsible because of the alleged close control and monitoring that the online retailer has over the delivery process.
Amazon applied to the tribunal to strike out all the claims against it on the basis that those claims have “no reasonable prospect of success”.
But after a two-day hearing, employment Judge F Spencer delivered a reserved judgment, stating: “While the various relationships may, at first sight, look like a simple outsourcing arrangement, in the absence of further information as to how the relationships work in practice, I cannot conclude either that the case against Amazon has no reasonable prospect, or that it has little reasonable prospect of success.”
“Amazon is a multinational company and Leigh Day believes it is using a complex structure of arrangements to deny delivery drivers the employee rights we believe they should be entitled to.
“Leigh Day has always argued that, because of the reality of how the drivers work, including the standards drivers have to meet, and the way they fit into Amazon’s business, drivers are not genuinely self-employed independent contractors.”
A spokesman for Amazon said: “We’re hugely proud of the drivers who work with our partners across the country, getting our customers what they want, when they want, wherever they are.
“We are committed to ensuring these drivers are fairly compensated by the delivery companies they work with and are treated with respect, and this is reflected by the positive feedback we hear from drivers every day.”