Uber Drivers Are “Workers”

28th October 2016 by

Nick Evans, Specialist Employment Partner, comments on Uber losing a landmark employee case:

 This may send shockwaves through the “Gig economy” and there may be costs implications (that could ultimately be borne by the consumer) as operators with similar business models take stock of this decision

 However, this finding on the status of Uber drivers as “workers” should come as no surprise given the way in which Uber tightly monitors and controls the actions of its drivers

Critically, the decision means the drivers are entitled to certain basic protections including the National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage and paid annual leave (calculated by reference to their normal working time / remuneration)

 Uber have of course vowed to appeal but the reality is they are a company who provide transport services to the public by engaging drivers

The fact they do so via an App as opposed to via a telephone or a computer doesn’t make them a technology company (as they sought to argue in the Tribunal) and as a US Court had previously commented “ Uber does not simply sell software it sells rides”

 Indeed, the Tribunal appeared almost to be enjoying itself at Uber’s expense when they described (in what is a long judgement) some of Uber’s efforts to persude they were not “selling rides”  as “resorting in its documentation to fictions” and to their apparent “twisted logic”. The ET  also described aspects of the evidence given by the Uber’s Regional UK Manager as reminding them  of Hamlet in that “ The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

 No doubt much more mileage will follow in this case. We will of course keep you posted on developments on the likely bumpy ride!  

 If you require any further information on this topic or any of Healys’ services please contact Nick Evans on 020 7822 4141 or email Nicholas.evans@healys.com