Nothing New Under the Digital Platform Revolution? The First Italian Decision Declaring the Employment Status of a Rider

by Maurizio Falsone

In 2020, an Italian tribunal classified a food-delivery rider working via a digital platform as an employee for the first time. Italian courts and scholars have struggled with new, ambiguous legal notions with the aim of (re)shaping the border between subordination and self-employment. In this case, a Sicilian judge ruled that the working relationship between the digital platform’s owner and the rider using it to acquire work is characterized by hetero-direction – the basic element of subordination pursuant to Art 2094 of the Italian Civil Code. This article examines the arguments regarding the nature of both the platform and the rider’s working relationship with the provider. The article analyses how the judge concretely subsumed the case into the legal framework and underlines the weaknesses in the reasoning regarding the role of continuity in qualifying a working relationship. The article further demonstrates a problematic surplus of arguments and exegetic techniques that risk weakening one another.

DOI 10.23815/2421-2156.ITALJ           ISSN 2421-2156

 Read the full article