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19 November 2018

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules that Addison Lee drivers are ‘workers’

2 mins

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that the Employment Tribunal (ET) was correct in finding that the Claimants were ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (known as ‘limb (b) workers’). The EAT also found that when the drivers were logged on and ‘available’, ie not on a break, it was ‘working time’ for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations 1998.

The EAT upheld the ET’s reasoning that when drivers were logged on, they were undertaking to accept and personally perform the driving jobs allocated to them. The EAT acknowledged that there was ample evidence for the finding that drivers were required to accept an allocated job in the absence of an acceptable reason. The EAT pointed out that Addison Lee accepts booking prior to allocation and “if drivers had an unfettered right to refuse bookings which were less favourable, it is difficult to see how the Respondent’s business could operate at all…”. The EAT also affirmed the ET’s conclusion that an ‘overarching contract’ existed which denotes ‘mutuality of obligation’, an element which must be present in order for the Claimants to have worker status.

By virtue of their ‘worker status’ Addison Lee drivers are now entitled to holiday pay and national minimum wage.

This is one case in the recent stream of gig economy litigation. Cases include those of Pimlico Plumbers (in the Supreme Court), Uber, Hermes and Deliveroo.

It is open to Addison Lee to apply for permission to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal thus making this area of law still very much an evolving one.

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