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China: The On-Demand Cooking Service Company Was Held to Have Established Employment Relationship with Cooperative Cooks

The Company ran a website that provides personal information of cooks in cooperation and offer tailored cooking service to the client. The Individual was a cook who provided cooking service to Company’s client and signed a cooperation agreement with the Company, which states that no employment or labor service relationship shall be interpreted as established in any way between the Company and the Individual. In addition, the cooperation agreement prescribes on the mechanism for the Company to dispatch cooks to different clients and reward and punishment system for the cooks based on performance. The Individual filed a lawsuit against the Company to claim his relationship with the Company shall be deemed as employment relationship. Through the litigation process, the Court ruled in favor of the Individual and found the employment relationship established. The Court came to this decision based on the followings: (a) exclusion of employment relationship by agreement is invalid, (b) the Company provides regular compensation to the Individual in return for his cooking service offered to the Company’s client; and (c) the Company conducts administration of the Individual’s daily work and render the individual closely affiliated to the Company.