Lawyer Says Ramifications Of Ruling Will Be Significant For Gig Economy Workers
The Supreme Court will today consider the case of Uber BV and others (Appellants) v Aslam and others (Respondents).
A group of former or current Uber drivers in London went before the Employment Tribunal to have their “worker” status recognised for the purpose of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Working Time Regulations 1998.
They argued that as “workers” they are entitled to minimum wage, paid holidays and other legal protections.
For its part, Uber maintained that under no circumstances were these drivers "workers" within the meaning of the above-mentioned legal texts; but they were independent, third party contractors.
In 2016, the Employment Tribunal decided that the drivers were “workers” and that their working time started as soon as they were within their “territory” (London), had the App switched on and were ready and willing to accept trips, and ended as soon as any of those three conditions ceased to apply.
Uber appealed against this decision, contesting the drivers' "worker" status and the definition of their working time.
However, these findings were upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. Although Uber attempts to control its relations with drivers through extensive contractual documentation, the Court of Appeal held that these contracts do not reflect the reality of their situation, and that they are indeed "workers".
Uber has appealed to the Supreme Court, who will have to determine once whether the drivers are indeed workers and, if they are, to establish the periods that constitute their working time.
Expert Opinion“The hearing before the Supreme Court begins today and its ruling expected in a few months' time will put an end to the debate on Uber drivers' status. This is an eagerly anticipated ruling that is likely to have far reaching ramifications for the thousands of people and businesses in the gig economy.” Emilie Cole - Partner