A driver makes use of the Uber app to drop off a passenger in London.
Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg through Getty Photographs
LONDON — Uber misplaced an important authorized battle within the U.Ok. on Friday, because the nation’s Supreme Court docket upheld a ruling that its drivers must be categorized as staff quite than impartial contractors.
The Supreme Court docket voted unanimously to dismiss Uber’s attraction towards the ruling.
The decision concludes an nearly five-year authorized battle between Uber and a gaggle of former drivers who declare they have been staff entitled to employment rights like a minimal wage, vacation pay and relaxation breaks.
In 2016, an employment tribunal dominated in favor of a gaggle of former Uber drivers, led by Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who claimed they have been staff employed by Uber and due to this fact entitled to sure labor protections.
Uber insists its drivers are self-employed and that it acts as extra of an “company” which connects them with passengers by way of an app. Uber desires to maintain the authorized classification of its drivers as impartial contractors unchanged, arguing drivers favor this “gig” mannequin because it’s extra versatile — it additionally advantages Uber from a price perspective.
The U.Ok. case echoes Uber’s authorized battle with Californian regulators, who final 12 months tried to reclassify drivers of Uber and different ride-hailing companies like Lyft as staff to grant them extra employment protections.
However voters supported a poll measure known as Proposition 22, which exempted Uber and different gig financial system platforms from reclassifying drivers as staff.
The Supreme Court docket ruling doubtlessly jeopardizes Uber’s enterprise mannequin within the U.Ok. The corporate will now have to return to the employment tribunal to find out compensation for the drivers concerned within the case. It might additionally face claims from 1000’s of different drivers within the nation.
It additionally has main implications for Britain’s gig financial system, which is assumed to have a workforce of round 5.5 million folks. Different corporations working an analogous mannequin to Uber’s embrace Bolt, Ola and Deliveroo.