Uber loses its appeal on drivers ‘worker’ status
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has agreed with the Employment Tribunal’s ruling that Uber drivers are workers, and so benefit from all associated rights such as the right to the national minimum wage, holiday pay and sick pay.
This is a significant ruling for the ‘gig economy’ and the rights of workers and employees. Whilst an appeal is likely, this ruling will likely be a catalyst for even further scrutiny.
What is crucial in the EAT’s ruling is that all of the time that Uber drivers spent logged into the Uber app (and being willing and able to accept assignments) was held to be working time, and not just the time that they were carrying out a particular trip. It held that even though the drivers were able to reject jobs, given the large number of jobs actually accepted, they were at the disposal of Uber. For those businesses that may be susceptible to such claims, it may be a good idea to keep some sort of written record of such working time.
Furthermore, the EAT agreed with the Tribunal that the contractual documentation did not reflect the reality, and the Tribunal correctly disregarded the terminology of the contracts.
Whilst it is expected that Uber will request a fast-track appeal to the Supreme Court, gig economy businesses should be prepared for a potential influx of similar claims. One thing is clear; there will continue to be uncertainty for the ‘gig economy’ especially where employment status is concerned.
For more information on the issues raised above or any other employment related matter, please contact a member of the Employment Team