Uber lost a legal battle in the U.K., and that’s a good thing

Olivia Harvey
Uber lost a legal battle in the U.K., and that’s a good thing

Another ruling has been made in the case concerning Uber employees’ rights in the United Kingdom. On Friday, November 10th, Uber lost its legal appeal against a previous ruling decided by a U.K. employment tribunal that stated the company must provide their employees with benefits such as minimum wage and holiday pay.

According to Fortune.com, Uber and other delivery and ridesharing services in the U.K. view their employees as “independent contractors” and therefore do not grant them comprehensive employee rights. This denial of employee rights ultimately helps to reduce company costs.

The case was first brought to a British employment tribunal by two Uber workers in July 2016. In October that same year, the first ruling was made — the corporation was no longer allowed to treat their workers as self-employed and had to give them benefits.

Uber appealed and the case ended up in the U.K.’s Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) this week, where the appeal was ultimately denied. The ridesharing company plans to appeal yet again to higher courts.

The most recent ruling against the business has the potential to affect every U.K. delivery and ridesharing service — Deliveroo and TaskRabbit, for example — that, like Uber, views their workers as independent contractors.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain supported the two Uber drivers who brought the case to the original tribunal. According to Reuters.com, after the ridesharing service’s appeal was denied on Friday, Jason Moyer-Lee, the IWGB’s general secretary, stated,

“Today’s victory is further proof, as if any more was needed, that the law is clear and these companies are simply choosing to deprive workers of their rights.”

Uber’s argument is that its drivers enjoy having flexibility and are technically self-employed. The company believes that, as British law states, self-employed workers are only entitled to health and safety rights.

In late October 2017, Uber dealt with another case in the United States after ex-driver Susan Fowler came forward about her experiences with sexism and harassment while working at the company. Her allegations resulted in an investigation and CEO Travis Kalanick’s departure.

The company is also in the midst of battling with London’s transport regulator to keep their license.

Transport for London refused to renew Uber’s license in September 2017, deeming the company unfit to run a taxi service. They also called out the company’s handling of driver background checks and reporting of criminal offenses.