13/02/2019

After many months of arguing over the status of their drivers, the Court of Appeal has told Uber that they must be classed as workers despite Uber’s best arguments to the contrary.

The drivers were fighting for holiday pay and the national minimum wage among other things, but Uber argued that the company was merely an intermediary between the customer and the driver, with the driver being self-employed.

The drivers, however, argued that they provide services under a contract between Uber and the customer and they didn’t have the autonomy of a self-employed person despite what their contract with Uber claimed.

Essentially the drivers were under the control of Uber. They don’t choose the route or the fare and their customers pay Uber directly.

The Court of Appeal found in favour of the drivers but have given leave for Uber to appeal to the Supreme Court, so the story might not end here.

The use of ‘self-employed’ people has become more and more prevalent, but the tribunal and courts are wise to the possible abuse of this status. This has resulted in many cases highlighting that calling someone self-employed but doing everything an employer would do (not a customer) won’t protect the company from the risk of a claim.

Remember that claims for holiday pay and other pay can run as far back as the previous two years so it could become quite costly if this status is not dealt with properly.

For advice on any employment matter contact Laura Franklin on 01782 205000 or email laura.franklin@beswicks.com