28th October, 2016
First Employment Law victory to the drivers in the ongoing Uber dispute
The Employment Tribunal has ruled this afternoon that two Uber drivers are ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Although this decision only relates to a preliminary issue in what is likely to be a long running case, its wider importance and implications should not be underestimated. Unless Uber are able to successfully appeal against this decision, all its drivers will now be entitled to the rights afforded to those with ‘worker status’ which include entitlement to:
- receive the national minimum wage;
- 5.6 weeks paid annual leave a year;
- and a maximum 48 hour week amongst other things
This is a significant victory as these drivers had previously been treated by Uber as self employed contractors and did not have the benefit of this protection.
This decision is likely to lead to more Tribunal claims from Uber drivers in the future who may seek to pursue claims for unlawful deductions from wages, whistleblowing and breach of the Working Time Regulations 1998. It will also be interesting to see whether this decision leads to more challenges to the employment status of ‘contractors’ in similar positions such as delivery drivers/cyclists, many of whom are currently classed as self employed.
The potential implications of this decision on Uber (and possibly other companies) means that it is very likely to be appealed but, for now, it appears it is the drivers who have won what is probably just the first of many upcoming legal battles.
If you would like further advice on this or any other aspect of employment law please contact:
Employment Law Partner
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