Uber drivers have won a high-profile legal battle about their employment status, after an employment tribunal ruled that they should be classed as ‘workers’ rather than ‘self-employed’. This decision means that they are entitled to earn the national living wage and to receive holiday pay. Up until now, Uber had been treating its drivers as self-employed contractors who choose where and when they work, meaning that they were not entitled to these rights. This case concerned only two individuals, but their success could mean that the firm behind the ride-hailing app may now be facing up to 40,000 additional claims from its drivers across the UK.
The three-judge tribunal panel ruled unanimously that drivers employed by Uber are ‘workers’. Judge Anthony Snelson commented that the company runs a “transportation business and employs the drivers to that end”, indicating that any driver using the Uber app is effectively under an employment contract. Although Uber has said that it will appeal against this decision, this ruling is a landmark decision that will affect companies with thousands of workers in the ‘gig economy’. Courier firms such as Deliveroo are also facing legal action with cases expected to be heard in November.