A LANDMARK employment law ruling has put a bump in the road for Uber and, potentially, the way it operates in the future.The company has lost its legal appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed.
This decision – seen as a major setback for Uber as it accelerates into the busiest time of its year with Christmas and New Year approaching – serves as an important reminder, according to Milners’ Lazuna Ullah, a trainee solicitor working with our employment law team.
“It confirms that regardless of what the written contractual terms state, it is the working arrangements that determine the employment status,” she said.
“The essential question for the Court of Appeal (CA) centred on the worker status. In particular, it explored whether Uber contracts directly with the passengers to provide driving services, which are performed by the drivers or whether its involvement is limited to acting as an intermediary providing booking and payment services whilst the drivers drive the passengers as independent contractors.”
She added: ”The written terms of employment state the latter – but the majority decision in the CA held that such terms do not reflect the practical reality of the relationships and could therefore be disregarded.”
Uber lodged its appeal after a tribunal back in 2016 ruled drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were Uber staff – and entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage.
Even though the original decision has been upheld, it may not mean the end of the road for Uber’s legal fight. It has already vowed to take it further appeal to the higher Supreme Court.
This is a case that is triggering a lot of interest in the ever-changing world of employment law because of the far-reaching implications it has for workers in the wider gig economy.
All eyes are now focused on the next stage of this long-running legal journey and what the Supreme Court will say if they are asked to hear yet another appeal before we reach our final legal destination.
You can read more about the ruling here

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding conduct and discrimination or any other Employment law related issues, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment Law team here at Milners on 0113 245 0852 or hello@milnerslaw