Uber loses a battle but the war continues

In our previous update, we advised you that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) had held that Uber’s drivers are to be classed as workers. This means that they are afforded employment rights, including protection from unlawful deduction of wages, entitlement to the national minimum wage and paid annual leave.

Since then Uber have said they will launch a further appeal, with the Court of Appeal expected to hear the case sometime this year.  Interestingly, the Supreme Court will also be hearing Pimlico Plumbers’ case on worker status in February  which may have ramifications for Uber’s case.

The implications for gig employers are significant.  Having said that, this was a highly fact sensitive case meaning businesses that have less control of those that work for them could genuinely claim employees are ‘self-employed’ as opposed to ‘workers’.

In December 2017, the European Court of Justice held that Uber is to be classed as a transport company, not a digital app service as Uber were claiming. This decision has potential ramifications for a number of gig economy businesses based around digital apps, not least because it has the potential to afford workers the usual employment rights and protection.

Comment: It would be prudent for all gig economy businesses to review the level of control and regulations they have in place to determine whether there is a risk they could be classed as workers.