Foodora to fight alleged unfair dismissal case
Advertisement

Foodora to fight alleged unfair dismissal case

Foodora will continue to fight an alleged unfair dismissal case after Australian tax authorities classified the company's food delivery riders as employees instead of independent contractors.

The Australian Taxation Office and Revenue NSW started chasing Foodora for unpaid tax and superannuation before the food delivery company went into voluntary administration last month.

Revenue NSW has notified Foodora's administrator the gig company owes $558,075 in payroll tax because it classified Foodora cyclists as employees and not independent contractors as claimed by the company.

Foodora will continue to fight an alleged unfair dismissal case against the Australian Taxation Office and Revenue NSW.

Foodora will continue to fight an alleged unfair dismissal case against the Australian Taxation Office and Revenue NSW.

Photo: Jason South

Foodora went into voluntary administration on August 17 in a move it said at the time would put litigation against it on hold. The Fair Work Ombudsman last week dropped its case alleging Foodora engaged in sham contracting classifying workers as contractors instead of employees in response to the company's collapse.

The Transport Workers Union, which is representing former Foodora rider Josh Klooger, said the company had informed the union it would continue fighting the case in the Fair Work Commission.

Advertisement

"They wrote to us to say they wouldn't be objecting to the proceedings going ahead," TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.

Former Foodora delivery rider Josh Klooger is fighting an alleged unfair dismissal case.

Former Foodora delivery rider Josh Klooger is fighting an alleged unfair dismissal case.

Photo: Supplied

"What we know is they have challenged the ATO's preliminary assessment that there is quite a large liability outstanding because of the status of the workers.

"We have a view that they want to run this case to see if they can get something favourable ... that will assist them with that challenge to the ATO."

Mr Kaine said the TWU was fighting for $47,000 in compensation for Mr Klooger and was looking forward to Foodora being cross-examined about its work practices.

"Now the Fair Work Ombudsman has gone and the federal government is nowhere to be seen, we see it as our job to make sure that occurs," he said.

"We can't afford to let a company just come in here and flout our laws."

The Klooger case could help set a precedent for whether food delivery riders are really employees entitled to legal minimum rates of pay, conditions and protections against unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act.

Foodora has objected to Mr Klooger's claim against unfair dismissal, claiming he was an independent contractor. Protection against unfair dismissal is available to workers defined as employees under the Commonwealth Fair Work Act, but not to independent contractors.

Foodora did not respond to Fairfax Media's request for comment on Tuesday.

Voluntary administrator Worrells has written to Foodora creditors telling them that it is planning to write to the Supreme Court of NSW seeking an order to delay the next creditors meeting for up to two months, ending November 9.

The Fair Work Commission hearing was scheduled for Thursday but will now be deferred to another date to be announced.

Anna Patty is Workplace Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a former Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter. Her reports on inequity in schools funding led to the Gonski reforms and won her national awards. Her coverage of health exposed unnecessary patient deaths at Campbelltown Hospital and led to judicial and parliamentary inquiries. At The Times of London, she exposed flaws in international medical trials.