Uber B.V. & Ors v Aslam & Ors UKEAT/0056/17/DA
Appeal against a finding that Uber drivers were workers. Appeal dismissed.
Drivers accepted or declined work through the Uber app. The ET's judgment concerned whether the claimants were self employed or employed as workers as they claimed. It was found that the claimants were workers and so due adjusted pay under the National Minimum Wages Regulations (Read the summary and link to the ET judgment here. Uber appealed to the EAT.
The EAT dismissed the appeal. The ET had been entitled to reject the characterisation of the relationship between Uber drivers and Uber, specifically Uber London Ltd (ULL), in the written contractual documentation. It had found (applying Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher and Ors  ICR 1157 SC(E)) that the reality of the situation was that the drivers were incorporated into the Uber business of providing transportation services, subject to arrangements and controls that pointed away from their working in business on their own account in a direct contractual relationship with the passenger each time they accepted a trip. Having thus determined the true nature of the parties' bargain, the ET had permissibly rejected the label of agency used in the written contractual documentation. The ET had not thereby disregarded the principles of agency law but had been entitled to consider the true agreement between the parties was not one in which ULL acted as the drivers' agent. The ET had permissibly concluded there were obligations upon Uber drivers that they should accept trips offered by ULL and that they should not cancel trips once accepted (there being potential penalties for doing so). It was, further, no objection that the ET's approach required the drivers not only to be in the relevant territory, with the app switched on, but also to be "able and willing to accept assignments"; that was consistent with Uber's own description of a driver's obligation when "on-duty". These findings had informed the ET's conclusions not just on worker status but also on working time and as to the approach to be taken to their rights to minimum wage.
Published: 13/11/2017 15:18