UBER Driver Case – Tribunal finds that they are “workers”

The Employment Tribunal has issued its Judgment in the much awaited case involving the companies behind the Uber app and two drivers. Uber was developed and released in 2010 as a mobile phone app which has over 40,000 taxi drivers signed up, with 30,000 of these being in London alone. The app allows passengers to easily locate and book available taxi drivers without the need to go to a registered rank or calling a dispatch office. Payment is made by credit or debit card based on the distance and time travelling. It is seen as the stress free way of booking a taxi.

Two drivers, Mr Yaseen Aslam and Mr James Farrar, both argued that they were “workers” as defined by section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”) and so entitled to such benefits that a worker would be entitled to. The drivers argued that the written Agreement between the drivers and Uber was not one that reflected the reality or true relationship of the parties.

Uber argued that the Agreement between the parties was clear and fair. They argued that the relationship of the parties was designed to allow parties freedom and was not intended to create a relationship between the parties that would be covered by the 1996 Act.

The arguments as to what amounts to a “worker” under the 1996 Act have been argued at Tribunal for a number of years. While there is substantial authority as to the test that the Tribunal should apply, each case will hinge on its own facts. The Tribunal approach such cases as a balancing exercise. It is rare that one particular aspect of the relationship will be enough for the Tribunal to determine the relationship either way. The Tribunal will tend to weigh up all the facts to establish which argument is more credible.

The Judge at the Employment Tribunal held that the drivers should be considered workers and so should be entitled to certain benefits. These benefits include; 5.6 weeks annual leave per year, a maximum average 48 hour week, rest breaks, right to the minimum wage and whistleblowing protection.

As the drivers were classed as workers, they are not entitled to the benefits that “employees” receive which includes protection from unfair dismissal, certain rights under TUPE and the implied benefit of trust and confidence.

The Tribunal was fairly critical of the elaborate relationship that Uber sought to have with the drivers. The Judge suggested that Uber had gone to some lengths to argue that the relationship was not one that could be covered by the 1996 Act. The Judge (showing that there can be humour at the Employment Tribunal) reminds us (paragraph 87 of the Judgment) that perhaps Uber were trying too hard and as Queen Gertrude said “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

The two Claimants were not the only Claimants involved in this dispute with this being seen as a test case. Considering the impact this decision may have, it is almost inevitable that the decision will be appealed and so it is unlikely that this will be the final word on the case.

A copy of the Judgment can be found here https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/aslam-and-farrar-v-uber-reasons-20161028.pdf

Contact our Employment Lawyers Glasgow

If you have a query relating to Employment Law, get in touch with our employment lawyers in Glasgow today on 0141 413 9489 or fill out our enquiry form.

Negotiating Settlement Agreements - Tips for Emplo...
Statistics Reveal Fall in Road Accident Casualties

Contact Us

Please let us know your name.
Please write your telephone number.
Please let us know your message.
Invalid Captcha

Testimonials