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Uber's fight over worker status is headed to the UK Supreme Court

An appeals court has upheld a ruling that drivers are employees.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 19, 2018
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Uber is about to face a definitive battle over its classification of ridesharing drivers. The UK Court of Appeal has upheld a 2016 ruling that Uber drivers are considered employees and thus qualify for holiday pay, the minimum wage and other protections. As Uber told Wired it planned to appeal the decision in the country's Supreme Court, the company now faces a definitive battle over worker status.

Things haven't been going Uber's way to date. In addition to this most recent loss, it unsuccessfully challenged the case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in November 2017. The UK government has also launched a Good Work Plan that would ensure low-wage workers have access to basic benefits, and it's investigating whether or not gig economy companies like Uber are subject to that kind of plan.

Uber has long maintained that its drivers are contractors, not employees, and has claimed that the current arrangement is ultimately more beneficial. This gives them the flexibility to choose their own hours and grow their businesses, it previously said. In the UK, it paid for an Oxford University study suggesting that London drivers frequently surpass the living wage and value flexibility. Many drivers disagree with Uber's assessment, though, and there have been protests demanding employee status. Either way, the arguments will be moot soon -- the Supreme Court's decision is likely the last word on the subject.

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