Employment Cases Update

Uber B.V. ("UBV") & Ors v Aslam & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 2748

Date published: 20/12/2018

Appeal against decision that the claimants in the ET were workers and so entitled to protection under the National Minimum Wage Act and the Working Time Directive. Appeal dismissed by a majority: Lord Underhill dissented.

 

The claimants are former drivers for Uber and its associated companies. In the ET the judge had found that they were workers, broadly as they were not in control of setting fares and were subject to various forms of control through the Uber app. That decision was upheld by the EAT at Uber B.V. & Ors v Aslam & Ors UKEAT/0056/17/DA

In their joint judgment, Sir Terence Etherton and Bean LJ recap much of the detail from the original ET decision and the employment judge's reasoning. They then focus on two issues: whether the drivers had a contract with their passengers and at what point they could be considered to be working for Uber: was it when they picked up a passenger or when they logged onto the app to accept any trips offered? They agree with the ET's findings on both issues at [95] stating that: 

"We agree with the ET's finding at paragraph 92 that "it is not real to regard Uber as working "for" the drivers and that the only sensible interpretation is that the relationship is the other way round. Uber runs a transportation business. The drivers provide the skilled labour through which the organisation delivers its services and earns its profits." 

And at [104] find that while in theory it was possible for a driver to work for Uber and other providers at the same time Uber's requirement to accept a certain level of trips and the imposition of penalties if too many trips are refused meant that the ET was entitled to conclude that the drivers waiting for a booking were available to ULL and at its disposal 

Read the judgment on Bailii. Full text here soon.