Update on the Uber case

In our October bulletin, we discussed the hot topic of cases where self-employed individuals are in fact workers.

Although some individuals are nominally titled ‘self-employed’, tribunals are deciding that in reality they are ‘workers’.

Being a ‘worker’, rather than self-employed, means entitlement to rights such as paid annual leave, rest breaks, national minimum wage, maximum working week and protection from unlawful deductions from wages.

One of the cases we reported on was the case of the Uber taxi drivers.

Background

Last month, the Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed Uber's appeal in the case of Uber BV v Aslam, upholding the employment tribunal's decision that Uber drivers are 'workers'.

The EAT rejected Uber's argument that it was simply a technology platform acting as agent for drivers by putting them in touch with passengers and that it was in no way a provider of taxi services.

Uber announced an appeal and applied for permission to 'leapfrog' the Court of Appeal to go straight to the Supreme Court, which is only granted in a small minority of very important cases.

Uber has been refused permission to leapfrog and the appeal will now be heard by the Court of Appeal in 2018.

Implications

This case does not involve any novel legal principles as of yet, but is an important reminder for employers to consider the reality of the way in which people work for them, rather than how the employer intended the arrangement to be.

The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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