A recent ruling of the London Central Employment Tribunal has held that drivers of Uber taxis are ‘workers’ under the legal definition, rather than self-employed contractors. Consequently, Uber taxi drivers will be afforded the protections and benefits prescribed for ‘workers’. These include the right to be paid the national living wage, to receive paid holiday and sick pay.
A worker is defined at s230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 as: -
‘an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under)— (a) a contract of employment, or (b) any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual.’
The Tribunal found that Uber drivers satisfy the criteria at part (b) because of the nature of their work and their working agreement with Uber. A number of the points in their favour included: -
· The fact that Uber interviews and recruits drivers.
· The drivers do not hold personal information about their passengers.
· Uber sets the route for each trip.
· Uber sets the fare for the journey.
· Uber effectively has a performance management and disciplinary procedure for the drivers.
· Uber accepts the risk of loss on the part of the driver.
· Uber deals with passenger complaints.
The ruling is interesting because it opens up the opportunity for those in similar professions who are currently classed as self-employed contractors to potentially challenge their employment classification. It is clear that the traditional lines between self-employed contractors and ‘workers’ are increasingly becoming blurred. Judges are having to evaluate the fast paced evolution of technology and how this is affecting traditional laws and legal definitions.
Uber has stated that they will appeal the decision of the London Central Employment Tribunal.
The claim was brought by a total of 19 Uber drivers. However, the decision applies to all Uber drivers and therefore you can contact Curzon Green if you are looking to seek advice on the matter.