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Über Changes in Employment Law

Aslam and Farrer -v- Uber B.V. and Others 2202550/2015 is perhaps, one of the most legally-significant employment cases in recent years concerning the up and coming ‘gig economy’.

Facts

A group of Uber drivers brought an employment claim against Uber stating that they should be deemed as workers (not employees – there is a significant difference between the two) and as a result should be entitled to receive pay for annual leave and the national minimum wage.

Uber argued that as it was a technology platform that enabled the drivers to connect with passengers then they would technically be deemed to be self-employed. As a result, their hourly earnings would be dependent upon how many passengers they were able to service.

The Tribunal’s Finding

The Tribunal disagreed with Ubers arguments that its business was simply a model of connecting 30,000 small businesses to a technology platform. They found in favour of the Claimants because:

  • Uber interviewed and recruited its drivers;
  • No driver was in a position to be able grown their own business or produce their own leads;
  • The drivers did not have a direct contract with the passengers (besides only when driving them);
  • Uber imposed working directions to the drivers, such as setting the default route and fixing the fare (the driver was unable to negotiate a higher charge with the passenger); and
  • The drivers provided their work for Uber pursuant to a contract between the two parties whereby the drivers agreed to service the passengers in return for consideration.

What Does This Mean?

Increasingly, statutory rights are being granted to those workers who, traditionally-speaking, would have been seen as self-employed. This is significant change in the Tribunal’s approach as those that are self-employed, do not hold any employment rights.

Whilst workers have fewer rights than employees, they are still entitled to:

  • A maximum 48-hour average working week;
  • Rest breaks;
  • The national minimum wage; and
  • 6 weeks of paid annual leave per year.

At Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP, we have the expertise and the experience to guide you through the minefield that is employment law. Should you wish to speak further about this with someone, then please either contact Richard Gordon (Epping office) or Robin Cearns (Loughton office) on 01992 578642.