Uber loses Supreme Court case
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court have held that Uber drivers are workers, rather than self-employed contractors.
This is a decision which has been eagerly and long awaited, as it sets a precedent for questions that have surrounded the UK’s ‘gig economy’ for the past several years.
The case was first heard in employment tribunal back in 2016, when drivers who had been treated as being self-employed brought a claim against Uber, arguing that their employment status was actually that of a ‘worker’, meaning they were entitled to annual leave, national minimum wage, rest breaks, and other legal protections.
The drivers were successful in their tribunal claim. The tribunal said the nature of the working relationship in reality meant they fit the definition of worker and that their working hours began when they had the app switched on, were within the working territory, and were ready and willing to accept trips.
Uber has since appealed this decision in the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, failing both times. The case was finally heard in the UK’s top court, the Supreme Court, in July last year, with the final judgement being handed down today, confirming the original decision of the tribunal.
This means that Uber will now be faced with providing their drivers with paid holidays and minimum wages (including back pay) among other employment benefits.
This will be an important case to note for all UK businesses who engage with contractors, as it could open the door for similar cases from many individuals who believe they have been incorrectly classified as self-employed. Whether they will be successful will still be a fact sensitive question, however, this case does set a clear precedent on the tests which will be used to determine employment status in the gig economy.
If you need any guidance or support in relation to Employment Status, please do not hesitate to contact the Employment Team on 01274 864999.