Uber could be hit with a string of compensation claims after it lost its latest court appeal.
The taxi giant has been in a long running legal battle with its drivers over whether they should be classed as workers or contractors.
In 2016, an employment tribunal ruled that the drivers were in fact workers. That ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal and later by the Court of Appeal.
However, the Uber legal team took the case to the Supreme Court, where they argued that the drivers did not undertake work for Uber, but were independent third-party contractors, and therefore not entitled to workers rights.
Sarah Naylor, employment law specialist, commented: “The Supreme Court decision is final. Uber has exhausted all the legal avenues now, and so must provide drivers with guaranteed employment rights and benefits.”
Sarah added: “These rights include statutory sick pay, national minimum wage, paid holidays and regular breaks.
“It is a landmark decision which will no doubt be welcomed by millions of people employed in the gig economy, who may also decide to pursue their rights as workers.”
The gig economy is a popular term for those employed on short-term contracts or doing freelance work and carrying out several jobs, or gigs. Growth in this area has been accelerated by Covid-19.
Speaking after the ruling, Mark Cairns, a London based Uber driver, commented: “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m delighted that we’ve finally got the victory we deserve.
“Being an Uber driver can be stressful. They can ban you from driving for them at the drop of a hat and there is no appeal process.
“At the very least, we should have the same rights as other workers and I’m very glad I’m part of the claim.”
The ruling could see thousands of Uber drivers eligible to claim around £12,000 in compensation.
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