The verdict is out! 

We have been awaiting the outcome of Uber’s appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal against the “worker” status decision from last year.  It is now reported that Uber has been unsuccessful and the worker status decision is maintained, despite Uber continuing to assert that its drivers are self-employed.  

As a quick recap of the background, you may remember that an employment tribunal's decision to classify Uber's drivers as workers caused a bit of a media frenzy last year.  Other status cases soon followed against other businesses associated with gig economy working.  These types of businesses typically work on the basis that they are engaging self-employed individuals, but some individuals have brought cases seeking entitlements only available to “workers” under employment law.  For example, holiday pay and protection from unlawful deductions of wages.

My last blog referred to the underlying tension between the running of certain gig economy businesses and the legal rules within which they are required to operate.   So, has the decision from today clarified the position or will the saga continue?

Well, Uber has the ability to appeal against the decision from today and it has been reported that they plan to go ahead with this.  It looks as though there is more to come on this and this serves to highlight the uncertainty for businesses and workers in the sector.

Whilst the law remains uncertain, my view is that we are going to continue to see more and more challenges and businesses appealing decisions linked to employment status. It needs to be clearer to both businesses and individuals from the outset what the legal rules are and the basis on which they are working.  The case for updating the legislation and clarifying the different categories of employment status is now stronger than ever. 

Whilst we have seen the government taking steps to review current ways of working, actions speak louder than words.  Some firm proposals now need to be taken forward for change and amended legislation proposed.