In a decision from the Swedish Work Environment Authority, Wolt was imposed, under penalty of a fine, to take certain actions in relation to work environment for workers performing duties via Wolt's digital platform ("Couriers"). On 7 November 2023, the Administrative Court of Gothenburg delivered a judgement (court case no. 12902-22) regarding Wolt's appeal of the Swedish Work Environment Authority's decision.
The Court found that the Couriers are not formally employed by Wolt, are not guaranteed a minimum wage of any kind, and are not required to perform a minimum number of deliveries in order to use Wolt's application. The Couriers decide themselves when they want to work and may, without consequences, decline deliveries. Furthermore, they do not have a personal work obligation; they may, after agreement with Wolt, have someone else perform their duties for them. The Couriers may, if they perform their delivery in a way that makes the food inedible, receive sanctions e.g. by a reduction of the remuneration and/or suspension from future deliveries. After an overall assessment, the Court found that Wolt should not be considered an employer in relation to their Couriers and, therefore, that Wolt did not have a work environment responsibility according to the Work Environment Act.
In relation to the assessment regarding the Agency Work Act, the court referred to a recent court case from the Swedish Labour Court (AD 2022 no. 45) regarding Foodora, concerning a worker who was temporarily assigned from a staffing company to Foodora as the user undertaking in accordance with the Agency Work Act. The Court noted that Foodora could lead and allocate work in a way that Wolt could not. The Court concluded that Wolt could not be considered a user undertaking and, thus, Wolt did not have a responsibility for the Couriers' work environment.
This judgement contains important clarifications on work environment responsibilities for companies operating in the growing platform economy, including both clarifications on when platform work companies' ability to lead and allocate work is sufficiently qualified for the companies to have work environment responsibilities as employers according to the Work Environment Act, as well as when platform work companies shall have work environment responsibilities according to the Agency Work Act.