The German Federal Labor Court decided: crowdworkers can be employees

For the first time ever, the Federal Labor Court of Germany decided on a lawsuit from a platform employee who had claimed to be an employee – and not self-employed. The Ninth Senate of the Federal Labor Court decided that the plaintiff was actually in an employment relationship when the platform terminated his account.

Statement made by the IG Metall on the judgment of the Federal Labor Court on December 1st, 2020 (file number 9 AZR 102/20)

Political evaluation of Christiane Benner, Second Chairwoman of IG Metall:

“For the first time, a court in Germany ruled that a crowdworker does not necessarily have to be self-employed but can be an employee, as well. We welcome this decision. It makes clear that crowdworkers are not generally to be viewed as self-employed. This is not a precedent for all crowdworkers. But it should encourage even more crowdworkers to have their status checked as well. We also welcome the fact that the Federal Ministry of Labor wants to make it easier for crowdworkers to have their employee status checked and to reverse the burden of proof if the crowdworker provides evidence of being an employee. “

Evaluation of the Federal Labor Court press release from the perspective of the IG Metall:

The Federal Labor Court has confirmed the view of the IG Metall that crowdworkers who work on online platforms may be employees. It does not depend on the title in the contract, but on the actual implementation.

In the case decided, the crowdworker was not contractually obliged to accept tasks from the platform. Nevertheless, he performed instructions-bound and externally determined work like an employee, because he was in fact forced by the evaluation and thus remuneration system of the platform to accept tasks.

The official press release of the Federal Labor Court (in German):