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Operator of a crowdworking platform is not to be regarded as an employer

This post is also available in: Deutsch

The Regional Labour Court of Munich has ruled that an agreement between a so-called crowdworker and the operator of an internet platform, which does not contain an obligation to take over orders, does not create an employment relationship.

The defendant carries out checks on the presentation of goods in retail outlets or in petrol stations, inter alia, for brand manufacturers. These contracts are then awarded to participants of the platform.

The conclusion of the basic agreement at issue entitles you to take over the orders offered on an Internet platform via an app, which are displayed within a self-selected radius of up to 50 km. In the event of a takeover, an order must be completed regularly within two hours in accordance with existing specifications. In the present case, there was no obligation to accept an order or, conversely, to offer contracts to the contracting authority.

The general court states that, according to the legal definition, an employment contract exists only if the contract provides for the obligation to perform work bound by instructions, determined by others in personal dependence. This is generally expressed in the fact that the employee observes work instructions regarding the time, place and content of the service due
and is involved in the employer’s work organisation.

The actual implementation of the contract is decisive.

The basic agreement does not fulfil the conditions simply because it does not contain any obligation to provide services. The fact that the applicant has in fact earned a significant part of his livelihood through the contracts and has, for various reasons, felt under pressure to continue to accept contracts in the future does not, under the existing legal situation, lead to the fact that the claimants who claim the protection of workers. The basic agreement could therefore also be effectively terminated by email as a mere framework agreement.

The Land Labour Court has not decided whether a fixed-term employment relationship was established by clicking on a contract. This was not relevant to the decision, since the invalidity of a time limit can only be invoked by means of an action within a period of three weeks, which was not the case in the present case.

Because of its fundamental importance, the appeal was admitted to the Federal Labour Court.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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