Uber drivers, whose contracts of employment are created to make them appear self-employed, successfully argued in an employment tribunal that they are in fact workers.
Judge Jennifer Eady QC handed down her judgement months after Uber was dealt another blow by Transport for London (TfL), which said it will not renew the firm's licence.
Uber appealed the decision at an employment tribunal in London in September but the company has failed to overturn the court ruling.
"Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed".
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Given the number of companies operating a similar business model to Uber, leap-frogging the Court of Appeal appears to be a distinct possibility.
"The tribunal relies on the assertion that drivers are required to take 80% of trips sent to them when logged into the app". The company this year has faced a wave of challenges for its brash business style and aggressive expansion, including allegations it does not properly vet its drivers and that it uses software to deceive authorities in areas where Uber's introduction was resisted. "We've also invested in things like access to illness and injury cover and we'll keep introducing changes to make driving with Uber even better".
'Uber must play by the rules and stop denying its drivers basic rights at work. "This ruling has arguably put the proverbial nail in the coffin of those businesses who seek to avoid the ramifications of worker status by trying to create unrealistic "self-employed" arrangements with those who work for them". "It's going to cost them", he said. "If they want to continue here they just have to accept these are the basic standards". Tom Elvidge, Uber's acting chief of British operations, said Uber would again appeal the decision, potentially bringing the case to either the Court of Appeal or the British Supreme Court, according to the Times.
"The cloud of uncertainty looming over the gig economy has undoubtedly made new businesses in the United Kingdom cautious about building a business model around a self-employed ad-hoc workforce, which may be further stagnating growth and therefore damaging the United Kingdom economy".
Some of Uber's drivers, such as parents and part-time workers, enjoy the freedom and flexibility that they get by being classed as "self-employed". I suffered a lot, so have so many other drivers.