Uber loses employment tribunal appeal

Is it time for the other gig-economy employers to check their brakes?

First published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Last updated on Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017

2 min read

Uber argues that rather than being a “gig-economy” employer, they are acting as agents for the drivers by referring passengers through the app and receiving payment for this.

The EAT agrees that the tribunal was entitled to look beyond the drivers' contractual documents to find that in reality, drivers were incorporated into the business and were significantly controlled by Uber when carrying out work., leading to the tribunal correctly deciding that Uber drivers are workers.

This decision is another positive sign for the estimated 40,000 Uber drivers in the UK that their correct employment status is that of a worker, and they should be entitled to workers rights, which include paid holiday, the right to seek minimum wage, working time rights and minimum rest breaks.

It is highly probable that Uber will continue their appeal against the decision. There was even a suggestion during the EAT hearing that they could bypass the Court of Appeal and take their case straight to the Supreme Court.

What does this mean for other employers?

The decision further indicates that “gig economy” employers and companies with similar business models that they may need to reassess their treatment of their staff to ensure they give the correct rights. And since abolishing employment tribunal fees, there is no deterrent for individuals to challenge their given status.

What can you do to ensure your business is compliant?

  • Know the difference between the different employment statuses and ensure they are implemented correctly in your business.
  • Ensure you keep track of all your employees' and workers' important employment information (holidays, working hours, contractual changes etc.)

If you are unsure of employment statuses and contractual rights, give our advisors a call on 0800 783 2806 or take a look at how BrightHR can help you keep your employees’ information up to date.

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