In Aslam and others v Uber BV and others (2016) the Employment Tribunal held that Uber drivers are workers under the definition set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996. This ruling was made for the following reasons :-
- The drivers were in fact employed in a type of contractual relationship as they were paid for being available and transporting Uber customers.
- Drivers were both interviewed and recruited by Uber
- Even though drivers had to provide their own vehicle, Uber were selective on which types of vehicles were permitted.
- After being taken on, drivers were required to complete and induction process and were given training.
- Drivers had to abide by rules and controls through the Uber app. Drivers had to follow precise routes to destinations for example.
- Drivers were penalised for rejecting 3 jobs in a row and were also performance managed to a set of ratings.
- Drivers had to follow a set of cancellation procedures.
- There was no scope for drivers to build their own businesses as no leads were provided to them.
It was found that the drivers were bound by many of the restrictions that one would expect to find in a normal employment contract. Uber subsequently appealed to the EAT which upheld the Tribunal’s decision that Uber drivers are workers.
As workers, the Uber drivers are entitled to be paid holiday pay, the national minimum wage/national living wage, and other benefits that workers are entitled to, but which they were not receiving, given that Uber deemed them to be self-employed. Uber has now submitted a petition to appeal directly to the Supreme Court (by-passing the Court of Appeal) in an attempt to overturn the EAT’s decision.
27th November 2017