Uber lose again as the EAT decide drivers are workers
The Employment Appeal Tribunal judgement in the appeal by Uber against the decision that 25 of their drivers were workers has been issued.
In Uber BV and ors Aslam and ors the EAT has upheld the Tribunal's original decision finding that Uber drivers are workers and not self employed. This means they are entitled to rights including holiday pay, national minimum wage and rest breaks.
Uber had appealed on the basis that the Tribunal had:-
(i) been wrong to disregard the contractual documentation between the parties that, in the view of Uber, were inconsistent with the existence of a worker relationship;
(ii) been wrong to rely on regulatory requirements as evidence of worker status;
(iii) been inconsistent and perverse in its finding the drivers were required to work for Uber; and
(iv) failed to take account other relevant matters relied on by Uber which were inconsistent with worker status, and indeed strongly indicated that the drivers were carrying on business undertakings on their own account.
However Lady Eady, who heard the appeal, found the Employment Tribunal (ET) had been entitled to reject the characterisation of the relationship as it was set out in the contractual documentation which did not reflect the reality of the situation. The ET was also not obliged to disregard factors simply because they might arise from the relevant regulatory scheme, and in any event the ET's findings on the control exercised by Uber over the drivers was not limited to matters arising as a result of regulation.
Lady Eady also rejected the contention that the findings of the ET were ether inconsistent or perverse - the assessment the ET had carried out was fact and context specific. The appeal was therefore unsuccessful on all four grounds. The successful Tribunal claim did not open the floodgates to numerous Uber drivers attempting to claim worker status (the number of claimants represented by the GMB increasing to only 68) and the EAT decision may not change that. Not only is there the possibility of legislative change following the recommendations in the Taylor Review, there is also the possibility of further appeals first to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court. If further legal action is taken then this case is likely to still be some years from a final conclusion.