Last Monday, the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court heard a Wolt courier’s appeal to recognize the existence of an employee-employer relationship at the Israeli food delivery company, and to classify his claim as a class action against the company.
The lawsuit has precedent-setting potential, because Wolt does not directly employ its couriers. Instead, it communicates with them through an app and classifies them as “self-employed.” As such, the company does not have to follow employment laws or pay minimum wage. Wolt can also terminate its couriers’ employment for any reason, without a hearing.
Recognition of a class action lawsuit may change the Labor Court’s approach to employment not just at Wolt, but on all digital platforms.
The courier, Golan Hazanovich (35), who is married and a father of one, worked for the company for an average of 26 days a month, and claims that he is entitled to social security payments and pension provisions by virtue of the employment relationship between himself and the company.
The hearing of evidence on Monday focused on Hazanovich's request to recognize the class action lawsuit, which will include improvements for all Wolt couriers, after the court ruled on May 30 that there were no grounds to dismiss the class action lawsuit, contrary to Wolt’s position.
The lawsuit, filed by the law firm Jacob Spiegelman & Co., alleges “blatant violation of the most basic rights in Israeli labor law” due to Wolt’s failure to recognize their couriers as workers, thereby removing its obligation to pay fair wages and uphold all related workers’ rights.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2020, lists a variety of criteria that indicate labor relations between employees and the company. The evidence includes the company’s complete control over the couriers during working hours, training for couriers on the company’s procedures, the inability of the couriers to control their salaries, and that the couriers' work is critical to the company’s functioning.