Johnson v Transopco UK Ltd EA-2020-000780-AT

Appeal against an ET decision that the Claimant was not a worker. Appeal dismissed.

From 2014 the Claimant worked full time in business on his own account as a black-cab (Hackney Carriage) driver in London. In February 2017 he downloaded the driver version of the Respondent’s App, Mytaxi. Apart from the odd trip in April he did not start to actively use it until around the end of July 2017. He made no trips using it after 18 April 2018 when he was removed from it. Throughout that period he continued to source work away from the App as a self-employed black-cab driver. The Claimant brought complaints which depended on his having been a worker of the Respondent, as defined in section 230(3) Employment Rights Act 1996 and other relevant legislation. The ET found that the Respondent did not deal with passengers as agent of the Claimant. The passengers contracted for transportation services with the Respondent as principal. These were delivered pursuant to a separate contract between the Claimant and the Respondent pursuant to which he had an obligation of personal service. However, the Claimant was not a worker of the Respondent because the Respondent was a client or customer of his taxi-driving business. The Claimant appealed.

The EAT dismissed the appeal. The ET had not placed an impermissible focus on the Claimant’s activities when he was not working for the Respondent. It had reached a proper conclusion about the nature of his business activity, and whether the jobs he did for the Respondent formed part of that same business. Its approach to the found facts in relation to allocation of financial risk, control, and integration was not wrong in law or perverse. It gave proper consideration to whether the Claimant was in reality in a dependent or subordinate relationship with the Respondent in accordance with Autoclenz v Belcher [2011] ICR 1157 and Uber BV v Aslam [2021] ICR 657. It did not err in its approach to the licensing regime. Its decision was adequately reasoned, articulate and clear.

Published: 20/01/2022 12:39

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