Court of Appeal says Uber drivers are entitled to workers’ rights

In a landmark gig economy ruling The Court of Appeal, by a majority (the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Bean), has upheld that Uber drivers are entitled to workers rights. 

The judges are in agreements with the earlier decisions of the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal that Uber was wrong to classify its drivers as independant contractors.

The proceedings which give rise to these appeals were brought by Uber drivers against companies in the Uber group claiming holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations 1998 and under-payments of “wages” by reference to the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999. One of the claimants also claims that he has been subjected to a detriment for being a whistleblower contrary to Part V of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

In order to bring their claims it is necessary for the drivers to establish that they are “workers” within the meaning of the Regulations and the Act. The Employment Tribunal held a preliminary hearing to decide that question; and also, if the drivers were workers, the period during which they were working, which is necessary for the calculation of any holiday pay due and of the national minimum wage. It held (1) that the drivers were workers, employed by Uber London Ltd; and (2) that they were to be regarded as working during any period when they were within their territory (i.e. London), had the Uber app switched on and were ready and willing to accept trips. The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld that decision.

This decision has now been upheld by the Court of Appeal, the Uber drivers were represented by Jason Galbraith-Marten QC and Sheryn Omeri, both of Cloisters.

The Court of Appeal has given Uber permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Read the full judgment here.