In an unsurprising decision, the Court of Appeal has confirmed in Uber BV v Aslam that the Uber drivers in this case have worker status, dismissing Uber's appeal that the Employment Appeal Tribunal had erred in law.
The judges referred to a "high degree of fiction" in the wording of the agreement between Uber and its drivers and the decision in this case makes it abundantly clear to employers that simply labelling a worker as “self-employed” does not necessarily mean that is the case. This endorsement of the Employment Appeal Tribunal's decision is not unexpected, but a ruling at this level is significant.
There are three main types of employment status; employee, worker and self-employed. Being classified as a worker entitles Uber drivers to basic employment rights such as holiday pay, the National Minimum Wage, statutory minimum rest breaks, protection against unlawful discrimination and the right not to be treated les favourably if they work part-time. All of which will require additional resource from Uber in order to implement.
The decision of the Court of Appeal was not unanimous with one judge dissenting and the Court has given Uber permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Take note: The gig economy is just one aspect of the modern workplace which brings into question whether our current laws are fit for purpose. Change is on the horizon. The Government recently published its Good Work Plan proposing a number of reforms, including an intention to clarify the employment status test and legislate to reflect the "reality of modern working relationships". See our latest newsflash 'Future of Work - Government publishes Good Work Plan' for more details.
This article is taken from HR Law - January 2019.