Uber B.V. and Others v Mr Y Aslam and Others [2017] UK EAT

Posted In: Case Law
  • Case Reference
  • Legal Body
    Employment Appeal Tribunal (UKEAT)
  • Type of Claim / Jurisdiction
    Contracts of Employment, Working Time, Pay
Issues covered: Employment status; Workers v Self-Employed; Employment Rights; Contractual Documentation; Reality of Situation

Mark: This case has the potential to undermine the gig economy as we know it. It has been very, very highly publicised in the media. It's one of around 10 gig economy cases that have happened in the last sort of 18 months or so. In nine of those cases the workers have been successful, and in one they haven't been. That's Deliveroo, and we can talk about that.

Scott: The union one, yeah?

Mark: That was the union one, and it's quite different for different reasons, but the focal point about Uber was the app, the platform, the digital platform for the drivers, was deemed to exert enough control over the drivers and how they did their job to warrant them to be considered to be workers under the law and not independent contractors, and between the Legal-Island annual reviews, the EAT had come out on the side of the workers. It's now being appealed. Uber initially said they were going straight and leapfrogging straight to the Supreme Court.

Scott: That's been refused.

Mark: That's been refused. They've been told now it's the Court of Appeal that they have to go to, and that's it. So in around March, April we should see that being listed for a hearing because it has the ability to fundamentally undermine the basis of any digital-platform, gig-economy workers, the focal point being the amount of control exercised by the employer over the drivers.

The Deliveroo case is different because Deliveroo riders had the ability to effectively subcontract out their work, so that meant in their contract they had a very definitive substitution clause that they could exert. Workers can't do that. Independent contractors can effectively subcontract out, and because Deliveroo drivers or riders had that in their contract and effectively do subcontract out their work, the existence of that substitution clause distinguished them from, for example, Uber drivers, and that's why they are classified as independent contractors.

Scott: Now, if they lose that and they lose the fact that they are workers, then those workers obviously have all those other rights.

Mark: That's right.

Scott: Like the holiday pay. I'm looking at the previous case of King. They're going to have holiday pay going back for as long as they have continuously been employed or at least deemed to be workers.

Mark: That's right.


This article is correct at 11/01/2018

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Mark McAllister
Labour Relations Agency

The main content of this article was provided by Mark McAllister. Contact telephone number is 028 9033 7403 or email Mark.McAllister@lra.org.uk

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