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21 December 2018

Court of Appeal rules that Uber drivers are in fact ‘workers’

2 mins

The Court of Appeal (CoA) released its judgment on 19 December 2018 rejecting Uber’s appeal against the decision that Uber drivers are workers and entitled to certain statutory rights.

It stated that in its view the Employment Tribunal (ET) was correct in finding that each of the Claimant drivers was working as a “limb (b) worker”. It agreed with the ET that the latest moment at which a driver is “working” for Uber is when he accepts any trip.

The CoA commented on the “artificiality of the contractual documents” and stated that there was a “high degree of fiction” in the wording of the standard agreements.

There are a number of factors that the CoA considered significant for the finding that the drivers were workers. These include:

  • The fact that Uber interviews and recruits the drivers
  • The fact that Uber requires drivers to accept trips and/or not to cancel trips and logs off drivers who breach those rules
  • The fact that Uber subjects its drivers to “ what amounts to a performance management/disciplinary procedure” based in the rating system

Workers under section 230 (3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 are entitled to rights such as paid holiday, the National Minimum Wage, the statutory minimum length of rest breaks and protection against unlawful deduction of wages.

Uber has stated its intention to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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