Uber drivers win landmark employment tribunal

28 October 2016

This afternoon the Employment Tribunal has given its decision on two test cases for drivers who provide services to Uber. The Tribunal has found these drivers are 'workers' within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996, rather than self-employed contractors.

This afternoon the Employment Tribunal has given its decision on two test cases for drivers who provide services to Uber.  The Tribunal has found these drivers are 'workers' within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996, rather than self-employed contractors, which is what Uber contracted them as.

As a worker they are entitled to a limited number of employment rights such as:-

  • 6 weeks' paid holiday each year
  • a maximum 48 hour average working week together with daily and weekly rest breaks
  • the national minimum wage (and the national living wage)
  • protection of the whistleblowing legislation.

The drivers do not have the added protection of being employees, with all of the additional rights that this entails, such as unfair dismissal and redundancy.

Uber has already stated it will appeal the decision:

"Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss. The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want. While the decision of this preliminary hearing only affects two people we will be appealing it.”

Although this decision is fact-specific and based on Uber's business model, it increases the chance of other 'gig economy' companies facing claims that their 'contractors' have worker status and will inevitably lead to a rise in their costs because of the worker liabilities.

If you'd like to be kept informed, please do sign up to our employment newsletter [click here to sign up], and contact  me or a member of the employment team.


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