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In our article on “Risks associated with employing workers within the Gig economy” written in August 2018 reference was made to the case of Uber BV and others v Aslam and others and its effect on the classification of individuals as being self-employed or being employed as workers.

In recent developments the Court of Appeal considered this point of contention and upheld the previous decision of the Employment Tribunal that Uber drivers are to be classified as “workers” for the purpose of the Employment Rights Act 1996, and as such are entitled to certain statutory rights such as minimum wage and paid holiday.

Reference was made to the case of Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher [2011] wherein it was found that written documentation alone may not reflect the reality of the relationship between an individual and an employer, and that when looking to classify the nature of the relationship in question you must examine all of the surrounding circumstances, of which the written documentation may only be a part. The fact that there may be a signed document would most definitely be relevant but may not be conclusive. The effect of the Autoclenz case was that the court could disregard the terms of a contract created by an employer if it was not a realistic reflection of the relationship in question.

The Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the Employment Tribunal’s decision clearly shows the trend in regards to how employment relationships are being viewed by the courts, as well as further demonstrating the need for both employers and individuals to be aware of the risks they may face when operating inside the Gig Economy.

Should you have any questions about your rights as an employee or employer please do get into contact with a member of our team.