The Implication of the Uber Appeal for Employers


27 Sep 2017


Today marks the beginning of an appeal by taxi giant, Uber. This landmark UK employment case will seek to provide clarity on the employment status of around 40,000 drivers associated with the brand, and establish their respective entitlements such as minimum wage and holiday pay.

Two drivers won a high-profile case against Uber in October 2016, when the tribunal deemed that they were to be classed as workers and not self-employed. Considered as one of the first proper legal reviews of job status in this part of the gig economy, this case began to form the parameters of employment status for the thousands of firms operating in a similar manner to the Uber model. This appeal will provide more clarity on where employment tribunals stand with regard to employment status, and should help employers in defining their own workforce.

What this means for Employers

Because of the publicity this case has attracted, the outcome of the Uber appeal is likely to go a long way in solidifying the narrative of workers’ rights in the gig economy. With more and more firms adopting these working practices within the renowned gig economy, it’s essential for employers to ascertain the employment status of their workforce and ensure that they are receiving the correct entitlements. Download our free employment status factsheet here for guidance, or don’t hesitate to call an employment law advisor on 0844 728 0181.

Employment Tribunal Risk

In July earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that tribunal fees are unlawful and a barrier to justice, abolishing them with immediate effect. As a result of this ruling, if an employee feels that as an employer, you have treated them unfairly, there is nothing to stop them making a claim, which could have a devastating effect on business. It’s more important now than ever to ensure your decisions and practices are correct and follow the right procedures, leaving no room for an employee to raise a case. Call Croner’s Employment Tribunal support line on 0808 145 3003.

The Uber Case

Uber had tried to argue that all of their 40,000 drivers were self-employed, but the tribunal ultimately ruled in the claimant’s favour. Uber will now appeal this decision. James Farrar, one of the two Uber drivers who brought the case, said: “What’s exasperating is that here we are, about two years since we started this, and almost a year since the judgment, and Uber are still fighting — spending millions to avoid paying the minimum wage.” He said he and fellow claimant Yaseen Aslam were “absolutely in it for the long haul”. CIPD research has also shown that most people working in the gig economy have another job elsewhere, with only a quarter of respondents claiming that gig work was their main job.

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