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November 10, 2017

Uber employee rights appeal defeated in court

Uber has yet another fight on its hands as Court defines drivers as workers, not self-employed.

By April Slattery

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for ride-hailing firm Uber, as the firm loses its appeal against the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

EAT has now rejected the ride-hailing firm’s appeal against its drivers being classed as workers, rather than self-employed.

EAT argued that Uber is an agent that connects drivers and passengers, confirming that the nature of the job and relationship between the two is that Uber drivers work for the company.

Upholding its decision, EAT ruled that as soon as an Uber driver logs onto the app to begin taking trips they are working for the company under a ‘worker’ contract and are required to take trips as and when requested by hailers.

Uber employee rights appeal defeated in court

Uber lose appeal against workers’ rights.

At the ruling the Judge said: “Once Uber drivers are in the territory and have switched on the app, they will be offered a trip if they are the nearest driver and, as I understand the ET to have found, were told they “should accept at least 80% of trip requests” to retain their account status.”

Comparing the two roles, EAT said independent contractors areclassed as self-employed workers on the basis of ‘no obligation for work to be offered and no obligation for any offer of work to be accepted’ – but found that this was not applicable with Uber.

As a result of the decision, EAT ruled that Uber must name their drivers as ‘workers’, thus giving them standard workers’ benefits, such as holiday pay and minimum wage.

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In disagreement with the ruling once again, Uber claimed that 80% of its drivers would rather be classed as self-employed than as ‘workers’ and vowed to appeal the ruling once again. The next stage of appeal would take the decision to the Court of Appeal.

Tom Elvidge, Uber UK’s acting general manager, said in a statement. “Over the last year we have made a number of changes to our app to give drivers even more control. We’ve also invested in things like access to illness and injury cover.”

Uber has faced regulatory and legal issues in a number of cities around the world and today’s ruling joins other wider problems the company has faced and continues to battle with today.

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Across London alone the company has almost 40,000 drivers and it still awaiting its appeal decision to renew its license across the Capital.

If Uber’s decision is yet again declined the company has said it will further the appeal to the Supreme Court, but it brings into question the likelihood of the company’s license being renewed if they cannot correctly classify their drivers.

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