Drivers take Uber to employment tribunal over employment status


The employment tribunal case, if successful, could have important ramifications for Uber’s operations in the UK.
The facts basically are that Uber, a taxi booking app, makes use of self-employed workers, to whom they do not guarantee basic employment rights. Uber considers drivers self-employed “partners” on the basis that they are able to enjoy the flexibility of picking their own hours and being their own boss.
Uber drivers supported by their union, are seeking to argue that Uber should be classifying them as having “worker status” rather than self-employed, because of the work that they do. If their claim succeeds this would entitle Uber drivers to basic employment rights such as the national minimum wage, paid holidays, and the rights to maternity and paternity leave, to name a few.
There has historically been a lot of confusion between the status and rights associated with employees, workers and the self-employed.
If you are self-employed then you are generally in business on your own account.
European legislation introduced a broader category of “employee” by introducing the concept of a “worker”. Workers are individuals who carry out work or perform services for another party who is not a client or customer of any business or profession carried on by the individual so this will include short term casual workers, agency workers or contractors. They are guaranteed similar rights to employees, in that they are entitled to receive holiday pay, sick pay, national minimum wage and are protected from unlawful deductions from their pay.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the Tribunal rules on this matter, given its wider implications. We shall be reporting on the outcome so watch this space for more updates on this case.
If you require advice to determine the correct status of those you work with or employ then please do not hesitate to contact the Employment Law Team at 0115 988 6211