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Gig worker disputes keep on coming

January 15, 2019
Employment Law

We have written a number of article about ‘gig economy’ workers over the last year or two.  In many of these cases, people who had previously been categorised as ‘self-employed contractors’ were found to be ‘workers’.  This is legally significant, not least because it means that they are entitled to the national minimum wage and to paid annual leave.

Some employers have, understandably, been reluctant to take these losses lying down.  After all, in some cases, their entire business model is at stake.  One such hotly contested case involves the taxi-hailing app, Uber.  Having lost their case before both the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the matter recently went before the Court of Appeal.  By a majority of two to one, the three appeal court judges once again ruled against Uber and in favour of its drivers.  However, it seems likely that Uber will give it one last shot and take its case to the Supreme Court.  So, for now, we will continue to hold our breath and see what happens next.

Of course, if the Government manages to devise a way in which ‘employment’ and ‘worker’ status can be more simply and clearly identified (without the need for lengthy and complicated litigation), this would be good news for both sides.  This is one of the objectives recommended by The Taylor Review, to which we refer in one of the other articles we have published this month.  Unfortunately, we remain a little sceptical as to how easily this objective can be achieved.  Time will tell!

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