09 March 2021

Case Law - The Uber saga finally reaches a conclusion (well, probably)!

The Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the earlier courts in deciding that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ and not self-employed contractors.  The case of Uber BV & Others v Aslam and Others was handed down on 19 February 2021 and comes over four years since the first test case was brought in 2016.  The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the original Employment Tribunal, emphasising the following factors as indicating their worker status:

  1. Uber set the fares, dictating how much drivers would be paid.
  2. Uber set the terms of the contract, without any say from the drivers.
  3. Once logged on to the app driver’s choices of whether to accept fares or not was constrained by Uber’s monitoring system which penalised refusals and cancellations.
  4. Uber exercised considerable control over the way drivers delivered their services, including being able to remove drivers whose passenger ratings fell too low.
  5. Uber restricted communications between passenger and driver to a minimum.

The Supreme court also held that the employment tribunal had been correct to find that the time spent by drivers logged on to the app within the territory in which the driver was licensed to operate and when they were ready and willing to accept trips, should count as working time. This means Uber is liable for holiday pay and national minimum wage on all these hours rather than just those where the drivers were driving passengers.

The case will now be remitted to the employment tribunal to decide on remedy for the drivers. 

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