An Adelaide-based delivery driver has settled with transport giant Uber after the woman was sacked for being 10 minutes late with a food delivery.
Driver Amita Gupta took her battle to the Australian Federal Court because the delivery behemoth sacked her over the late delivery. But she settled for an undisclosed figure this month after a hearing in November.
The judges lashed the company during the hearing when lawyers tried to deny its relationship to the delivery drivers or riders.
Uber’s lawyers claimed it was not a transportation service, denied there was a relationship with its drivers and said drivers had the ability to steal food if they cancelled a delivery after picking it up.
Instead, lawyers argued the Uber Eats platform was a “marketplace” that connected eaters, restaurants and delivery partners and not a transport company.
“Except Uber has a longstanding reputation, if you like, in the transport business,” Justice Mordy Bromberg said.
The judge also said it was “hard to imagine” Uber would keep providing tasks for a driver who kept “absconding with the meal”.
Justice Bromberg also hit out at Uber claiming to act as an “intermediary” between restaurants and customers for ordering rather than delivery.
“Everybody knows what function Uber plays. The restaurant’s function is to prepare the food. Uber’s function is to deliver the food; isn’t that right?” he said at the hearing.
The court action was backed by the Transport Workers Union, and national secretary Michael Kaine said the hearing exposed a “sham”.
He said the judges’ questions during the hearing exposed how “utterly ridiculous and farcical” the contracts were.
“It should not take brave workers like Amita standing up to a global multinational corporations to hold them to account,” he said.
A union spokeswoman said Ms Gupta was pleased with the result of the court action.
The union took Foodora to court in 2018 for unfair sacking and won the case.