Uber Appeal Tribunal Decision Update

Date Added 13.11.17

Following the decision made in an employment tribunal against Uber last year, Uber subsequently raised an appeal, which has just been overturned. The original judgment, which has been upheld by the Court of Appeal, was that those working with Uber constituted “workers” instead of being “self-employed” as Uber claimed.

This means that the individuals working for Uber now have the job title of “workers” which gives them basic employment rights in regard to sick pay and holiday pay, amongst many other things.

Workers or Self Employed

Uber were trying to claim that the terminology and wording in their contracts made their drivers self-employed. They argued this on the basis that they are a technology platform and work on an Agency business model, rather than being a taxi provider. Their claims were, that due to the drivers being able to choose when they worked and what customers they picked up, that they worked for themselves, as they were only deemed as working once they had logged in to the App and were ready to receive customers. They argued that the flexibility their drivers had, fell in line with that of a self-employed contractor.

Uber’s downfall came when they applied certain constraints on their drivers, constraints that those who are self-employed wouldn’t have. This included things such as; ratings on the website which could constitute a performance management process, as well as their drivers having a very high threshold to meet in terms of the amount of fares that they picked up. This left the drivers at Uber’s disposal.

Her Honour Judge Eady QC held that the Tribunal could disregard the terminology of the contracts and the labels used by the parties if this did not in fact represent the reality of the situation. Therefore, the above constraints that were placed on the drivers negated the wording used in their contracts, as in reality they were being treated like workers, so they should receive the benefits of workers.

This has been a good outcome for the drivers that work for Uber due to their increased rights, however customers may have to be prepared for an increase in the price of taxi’s so that Uber can keep up with the financial demand that has just been placed on them.

What does this mean to you?

Operating under a similar business model to Uber may cause you some problems in terms of the rights that your self-employed contractors have. This recent decision may have consequences on similar contracts and have adverse effects on companies that employ an Agency based business model.

If this is your business model, then your contracts may be in need of a review to make sure they comply with this new decision. If you have any queries about self employed contracts, or feel as though a review of your contracts is needed, then please talk to Tollers we’re HeRe for you.

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