Aslam and Farrar vs. Uber, Case Nos. 2202550/2015 & Others

Reasons by the UK Employment Tribunal for Uber-Drivers as Employees

On 28 October 2016, the UK Employment Tribunal held in Aslam and Farrar vs. Uber that drivers for Uber are not self-employed but qualify as workers who's work in the UK entitles them to benefit from UK employment laws. Further, the UK Employment Tribunal found that Uber’s conduct raised serious health and safety issues as Uber does neither ensures that drivers take rest breaks nor prevents Drivers from exceeding a maximum number of hours per week. The case hinged on 2 aspects:

1. Nature of Uber's Business

The UK Employment Tribunal rejected Uber's argument that, as a technology Company, Uber acted merely as an intermediate platform linking self-employed drivers and passengers. Instead, the UK Employment Tribunal held that a taxi service is at the heart of Uber’s Business because the language used by Uber describing its services – e.g. “our drivers” and claiming to generate “tens of thousands of jobs in the UK” – reinforces the notion that they are a taxi company employing drivers. Further, Uber holds a Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence for London.

2. Uber's Control Over Its Drivers

All in all, the UK Employment Tribunal found that Uber exercises a level of control over its drivers sufficient to qualify them as its employees. Among the key reasons for this finding are:

  • Recruitment: Uber interviews and recruits Drivers
  • Business Opportunities:  The drivers have no opportunities to grow their own business (other than by spending more hours in the car) or negotiate a higher fare with customers; trips are offered and accepted strictly on Uber’s Terms.
  • Key Information:  Uber controls key information (such as the passenger’s surname, contact details and intended destination) which drivers only find out after they have accepted a job.
  • Employer-Employee Relationship:  Uber drivers are rated by passengers (using 1-5 ‘stars’) and these ratings are used by Uber to ‘weed out’ low performing workers. This mirrors an.

Uber Before the CJEU

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has declared inadmissible the questions referred to it in the Belgian Uber case (C-526/15).

However, in the Spanish Uber case (C-434/15) the CJEU has set the hearing date on 29 November 2016.


UK Employment Tribunal, Aslam and Farrar vs. Uber, judgement of 28 October 2016

Chapman, "The Uber Workers Rights Judgment In Plain English", 29 October 2016

CJEU, Order of 27 October 2016 in Belgian case C-526/15 Uber Belgium BVBA vs. Taxi Radio Bruxellois NV
(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Nederlandstalige rechtbank van koophandel Brussel)

CJEU, hearing on 29 November 2016 in Spanish case C-434/15 Asociación Profesional Élite Taxi v Uber Systems Spain, S.L. (Request for a preliminary ruling from the Juzgado Mercantil No 3 de Barcelona, Spain)


Verlag Dr. Otto Schmidt vom 08.11.2016 13:45

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