Uber lost Appeal against drivers’ employment.
Working as a Taxi Cab driver(American Taxi Cab of Augusta) or Uber/Lyft driver has significant similarities such as self employment and independent Contractor status. Quite often, drivers determine when and where to work and at their convenient time of day or night. Uber has been implementing this business model since its startup. Taxis, Cabs, and their owners know the rules of engagement in this category. Uber has finally lost its Court Appeal against its driver's employment status in the UK. The ruling will have a big impact on its business model in the country and may have domino effect in other nations such as US.
This ruling is the conclusion of the company’s five-year legal fight in the country and a major setback for Uber that could affect all gig workers in the UK, regardless of employer.
UK’s Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are indeed workers, confirming the decision made by three lower courts. The unanimous decision means that drivers are entitled to a minimum wage, paid holiday, and other legal protections. The ruling Judge said Uber drivers working time isn’t limited to time spent driving passengers, but also “includes any period when a driver is logged into the app and ready and willing to accept trips.
In response to the ruling, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe said that the company respect’s the court’s decision, but added that it “focused on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016,” and that the ruling doesn’t reclassify all of its UK drivers as workers. Uber however claimed that the ruling classifies the drivers as “workers” rather than “employees,” which is a legally distinct category. It also says that certain elements of its service which were described in the judgement no longer apply, including penalties for drivers who reject multiple trips.
In a statement, the GMB Union, which helped bring the case against Uber, welcomed the “historic” win. “The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage,” Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said in a statement. “Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire,” Rix said, adding that the union now plans to work towards helping its members claim compensation.
Uber’s fight over drivers’ employment rights extends across its global operations. In its home state of California, drivers are suing to invalidate a ballot measure approved last year that declared them independent contractors. Meanwhile, policy makers in the European Union are expected to publish recommendations for improving working conditions for gig-economy workers later this month. The ruling strikes at the heart of Uber’s business model,” said Paul Jennings, a lawyer at Bates Wells, who represented the drivers. “As a business, it will need to reflect very carefully on the implications of the judgment.”
The ruling is the end of the road for Uber’s five-year fight over the status of its drivers and another setback in the U.K., which is home to the ride sharing company’s largest European market. Last year, Uber had to fight to retain its license to operate in London after the transport regulator complained about safety concerns.
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