Uber Eats is facing a potential test case for paying workers compensation to those hurt on the job, after a driver who seriously injured his knee while making a delivery had his claim rejected.
Zulqarnain Haider, 27, tripped and ruptured his anterior crucial ligament while dropping off food to a house in Coburg in September last year, according to documents recently lodged by his lawyer in the Victorian County Court.
Mr Haider, who now lives in Tasmania and no longer works as an Uber Eats driver, said his knee had not recovered fully since his injury and that he was still unable to run or keep up with the pace at work.
Mr Haider was born in Pakistan and resides in Australia on a student visa. He worked full time making Uber Eats deliveries from February 2020 until September 2020.
“It was very painful,” he said. “On scale from one to 10, then it was 10.”
In January 2021, Mr Haider made a compensation claim with Uber Eats for weekly payments plus medical expenses, however it was rejected by the company’s insurer on the basis that he was a self-employed contractor.
According to court documents, the insurer stated that Mr Haider was not considered a “worker” under the definition provided in Victorian workplace legislation and was not entitled to compensation.
He is seeking to have the court set aside the rejection and for him to be declared an employee of Uber Eats when the accident occurred. He is also claiming medical expenses and increased compensation due to the “unreasonable” withholding of a payout.
Food delivery companies have come under increasing scrutiny over their labour practices, with a group of Uber Eats drivers recently launching legal action in the Federal Court to determine whether they are entitled to a minimum wage and other rights.