It’s been almost a year since we reported on the Employment Tribunal case brought by a number of Uber drivers, who successfully argued that they were ‘workers’ (as opposed to self-employed contractors) and therefore entitled to rights such as the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage and the right to take paid holiday, as well as being subject to rules around working time.
Uber brought an appeal against that decision, and the judgment of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has just been released.
The EAT has agreed with the Tribunal that the Uber drivers are workers, and held that the Tribunal was entitled to find that the drivers were working when they were on duty i.e. in their territory with the app switched on – notably there was a requirement that they should accept at least 80% of trip requests whilst on duty.
The judgment is also a reminder that the label applied to a relationship in a written contract will not fool the Tribunal, if it is inconsistent with the reality of the relationship between the parties.
This is one of several recent cases involving those working in the ‘gig economy’, which has been in the spotlight recently (you can find our article on the Taylor review of modern working practices here, and our article on employment status issues here).
It is of course possible that Uber may seek to appeal further, and we will keep you informed of developments. The next big ‘gig economy’ case is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in February 2018, when it will hear a challenge by Pimlico Plumbers to a Court of Appeal ruling that one of its plumbers was a worker, as opposed to a self-employed contractor.
**Update – Uber applied for permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, by-passing the Court of Appeal, but this was refused and so their appeal will now be heard by the Court of Appeal.**
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).