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Uber decision: Cont…

Two drivers brought the legal battle last year and three weeks ago the Employment Appeal tribunal (“EAT”) upheld the earlier decision ruling that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 on the basis that: –

  • Drivers could not set their own fares, and were subject to a number of controls
  • Drivers claimed they had to accept 80 % of trips offered, or lose their account status

The decision confirmed that Uber drivers qualify for workers’ rights such as: –

  • 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave each year
  • A maximum 48-hour average working week, and rest breaks
  • The national minimum wage (and the national living wage)
  • Protection of the whistleblowing legislation

“Stay tuned,” we were told, as it was likely that this would increase the chance of other ‘gig economy’ companies facing claims that their ‘contractors’ have worker status however it comes as no surprise that there are now rumours about Uber intends to take the appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

What about the Court of Appeal you say? Uber hopes to overtake and present its case directly to the Supreme Court in February 2018 and is confident that the Supreme Court will hear the following arguments: –

  • The EAT’s ruling last month relied on misunderstandings of how Uber drivers interact with passengers;
  • The EAT erred in its understanding of whether drivers are obliged to log in to the app or to accept a certain percentage of passenger requests.

“It is unfortunate that rather than focusing on how to give its drivers a guaranteed minimum wage and paid holidays, Uber is instead choosing to waste everyone’s time by appealing once more,” said the IWGB general secretary, Dr Jason Moyer-Lee.

Disputes between organisations will continue to arise in the gig economy, particularly in light of the popularity of new applications for web technology and the services that they require.

 Are you concerned about the status of your employees?

Generally, in our experience the status issue normally arises out of another dispute however it’s always best to be prepared and to have considered the status of individuals in advance of any challenge.

If you have any concerns about employment or worker status in your business drop us a line on 0113 322 9222 or contact Employment Director, Marie Walsh and we can review your documentation and speak to you about any issues you may have.