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The evolution of working practices over recent years has brought a flurry of litigation, as new technology-based working models have brought various complex legal issues to the fore; none more so than worker status.
This month the Supreme Court handed down one of the most significant employment law decisions of the tech era, finding that Uber drivers are “workers” for employment law purposes.
What was the issue?
Very broadly, there are three types of employment status:
Distinguishing employees from workers, and workers from self-employed contractors, can be very complicated; but the distinctions are significant.
Employees are fully protected by employment law, whereas the self-employed have little to no employment protection. “Workers” sit in the middle. Workers cannot bring claims for unfair dismissal, but they are, for example:-
What were Uber saying?
Uber contended that their Drivers are self-employed contractors. They pointed to a number of arguments, notably:
There are also a lot of factors in the relationship that would normally point towards self-employment. For example:
What the Supreme Court held
Despite the various arguments for self-employment, the Supreme Court’s decision fell on the amount of control that Uber have over the Drivers once they have logged on to the app and reported for duty:
What does this mean for you?
Crucially, this decision means that Uber Drivers are entitled to:
This decision is far reaching and will apply to all similar business models, such as Deliveroo and UberEats, who connect customers to service providers via digital platforms.
This is definitely welcome news for the tens of thousands of people affected, but you can expect your next Uber trip (and takeaway) to be that little bit more expensive!
If you have any questions about employment status or the affect of this decision on your business, please contact the BBS Law Employment Team.