Uber drivers are workers
The claimant Uber drivers sought the status of workers, allowing them to claim the associated statutory employment benefits. The company now appealed from a finding that they were workers.
Held: The appeal failed (Underhill LJ dissenting) The drivers accepted the control of tee Uber app: ‘Even if drivers are not obliged to accept all or even 80% of trip requests, the high level of acceptances required and the penalty of being logged off if three consecutive requests are not accepted within the ten second time frame justify the ET’s conclusion that the drivers waiting for a booking were available to ULL and at its disposal. If a particular driver had entered into an obligation of the same nature for another entity and also had the rival app switched on then, as a matter of evidence, Uber would be able to argue that that driver was not at Uber’s disposal.’
and: ‘Even if drivers are not obliged to accept all or even 80% of trip requests, the high level of acceptances required and the penalty of being logged off if three consecutive requests are not accepted within the ten second time frame justify the ET’s conclusion that the drivers waiting for a booking were available to ULL and at its disposal. If a particular driver had entered into an obligation of the same nature for another entity and also had the rival app switched on then, as a matter of evidence, Uber would be able to argue that that driver was not at Uber’s disposal. ‘
Sir Terence Etherton MR, Underhill, Bean LJJ
 EWCA Civ 2748,  WLR(D) 6
Employment Rights Act 1996 43K 230(3)(b), National Minimum Wage Act 1998 54(3)(b), Working Time Regulations 1998 2(1), National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 44, Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998
England and Wales
Appeal from – Uber Bv v Aslam and Others (Jurisdictional Points – Worker, Employee or Neither : Working Time Regulations) EAT 10-Nov-2017
Uber drivers are workers
JURISDICTIONAL POINTS – Worker, employee or neither
WORKING TIME REGULATIONS – Worker
‘Worker status’ – section 230(3)(b) Employment Rights Act 1996 (‘ERA’), regulation 36(1) Working Time Regulations 1998 (‘WTR’) and section 54(3) . .
Cited – Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher and Others SC 27-Jul-2011
Car Cleaning nil-hours Contractors were Workers
The company contracted with the claimants to work cleaning cars. The company appealed against a finding that contrary to the explicit provisions of the contracts, they were workers within the Regulations and entitled to holiday pay and associated . .
Cited – Revenue and Customs v Secret Hotels2 Ltd SC 5-Mar-2014
The Court was asked as to: ‘the liability for Value Added Tax of a company which markets and arranges holiday accommodation through an on-line website. The outcome turns on the appropriate characterisation of the relationship between the company, . .
Cited – Cotswold Developments Construction Ltd v Williams EAT 21-Dec-2005
EAT What is meant by ‘mutuality of obligations’ where the claim relies on the Working Time Regulations; whether finding that there was no mutuality of obligations was inconsistent with holding that the Claimant . .
Cited – James v Redcats (Brands) Ltd EAT 21-Feb-2007
EAT National Minimum Wage
Who is a ‘worker’?
Was the Appellant who worked as a courier for the Appellant company, providing her own vehicle, a worker or home worker within the meaning of ss.54(3) and . .
Cited – Snook v London and West Riding Investments Ltd CA 1967
Sham requires common intent to create other result
The court considered a claim by a hire-purchase company for the return of a vehicle. The bailee said the agreement was a sham.
Held: The word ‘sham’ should only be used to describe an act or document where the parties have a common intention . .
Cited – F L Schuler AG v Wickman Machine Tools Sales Limited HL 4-Apr-1973
The parties entered an agreement to distribute and sell goods in the UK. They disagreed as to the meaning of a term governing the termination of the distributorship.
Held: The court can not take into account the post-contractual conduct or . .
Cited – Antoniades v Villiers and Another CA 17-Mar-1988
The court considered whether a license agreement was a sham and that a tenancy had been created. Bingham LJ said: ‘Where a written agreement is not held to be a sham, the task of the court, as with any other agreement, is to construe it and give . .
Cited – A G Securities v Vaughan; Antoniades v Villiers and Bridger HL 10-Nov-1988
In Antoniades, the two tenants occupied an attic, living together. Each had at the same time signed identical agreements purporting to create licences. The landlord had reserved to himself the right to occupy the property and to allow others to . .
Cited – Bankway Properties Ltd v Penfold-Dunsford and Another CA 24-Apr-2001
A grant of an assured tenancy included a clause under which the rent would be increased from pounds 4,680, to pounds 25,000 per year. It was expected that the tenant would be reliant upon Housing Benefit to pay the rent, and that Housing Benefit . .
Cited – Consistent Group Ltd v Kalwak and others EAT 18-May-2007
EAT CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT – Definition of employee
Employment tribunal concluded in the particular circumstances of the case that an agency supplying workers to a third party had entered into contracts of . .
Cited – A1 Lofts Ltd v Revenue and Customs ChD 30-Oct-2009
Lewison J said: ‘The court is often called upon to decide whether a written contract falls within a particular legal description. In so doing the court will identify the rights and obligations of the parties as a matter of construction of the . .
Cited – Clyde and Co LLP and Another v van Winklelhof SC 21-May-2014
Solicitor Firm Member was a Protected Worker
The solicitor appellant had been a member of the firm, a limited liability partnership. She disclosed criminal misbehaviour by a partner in a branch in Africa. On dismissal she sought protection as a whistleblower. This was rejected, it being found . .
Cited – Mingeley v Pennock and Another (T/A Amber Cars) CA 9-Feb-2004
The claimant taxi driver sought to assert race discrimination. The respondent argued that he had not been an employee, but an independent contractor. The Claimant owned his own vehicle and paid the respondents minicab operators pounds 75 per week . .
Cited – Yuen v The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club PC 28-Jul-1997
(Hong Kong) The applicant was dismissed as a golf caddie after nine years. The Club denied that he had ever been an employee. Other caddies had signed a form stating that they worked as independent contractors.
Held: The applicant’s appeal was . .
Cited – Khan v Checkers Cars Ltd EAT 16-Dec-2005
EAT The claimant worked as a private hire car driver for the respondent company which operated a taxi service based at Gatwick Airport. The claimant owned and was responsible for his own vehicle. He paid his own . .
Cited – Addison Lee Ltd v Lange and Others EAT 14-Nov-2018
Jurisdictional Points – Worker, employee or neither – WORKING TIME REGULATIONS
The Employment Tribunal did not err in law in finding that the Claimants were limb (b) workers and that the time spent logged on other than break times was . .
Cited – Carmichael and Another v National Power Plc HL 24-Jun-1999
Staff who worked only as and when required, and who then had the right to turn down work offered were not employees and were not therefore entitled to written particulars of employment. The absence of mutuality and the discontinuity of any . .
Cited – Stringfellow Restaurants Ltd v Quashie CA 21-Dec-2012
The company appealed against a decision that the claimant, a lap dancer at their premises, had been an employee. The claimant was a lap dancer who performed for the entertainment of guests at the respondents’ clubs. She paid the respondent a fee for . .
Appeal from (CA) – Uber Bv and Others v Aslam and Others SC 19-Feb-2021
Smartphonne App Contractors were as Workers
‘The central question on this appeal is whether an employment tribunal was entitled to find that drivers whose work is arranged through Uber’s smartphone application work for Uber under workers’ contracts and so qualify for the national minimum . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 February 2021; Ref: scu.632685