Are Uber drivers self employed contractors or workers?

1st November 2016

In the Case of Aslam and Others v Uber BV and Others, the Tribunal handed out its decisions that the drivers engaged by Uber were workers and fell within the legal definition of section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Just a reminder, this section states “in this Act “worker”… means an individual who has entered into or works under (or where the employment has ceased, worked under) – (b) any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express), whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual…”

These drivers, as the Tribunal found, were not self employed contractors as Uber argued. Interestingly, the Tribunal were sceptical about some of Uber’s arguments.

Amongst some of the findings, the Tribunal found that:

  • Uber had sole and absolute discretion to accept or decline bookings;
  • Uber interviewed and recruited drivers;
  • Uber subjected drivers through a system akin to a performance management/disciplinary process;
  • Uber determined issues relating to passengers e.g complaints;
  • Uber accepted the risk of loss;
  • Uber reserved the right to unilaterally amend driver’s terms.

As such, as a worker, the drivers would be entitled to the following:

  1. 6 weeks paid annual leave each year;
  2. Protection of the whistleblowing legislation;
  3. National minimum wage/national living wage.

Given that Uber has tens of thousands of drivers worldwide, Uber are seeking to appeal the decision.