A group of drivers are entitled to worker rights such as the minimum wage at Uber, Britain’s Supreme Court decided on Friday in a blow to the
ride-hailing service that could have ramifications for many others in the gig economy.
In a case led by two drivers, a London employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that they were due entitlements such as paid holidays and rest breaks.
Uber drivers are currently treated as self-employed, meaning that in law they are only afforded minimal protections.
The Supreme Court’s seven judges unanimously rejected Uber’s appeal against a lower court ruling, handing defeat to the ride-hailing giant in the culmination of a long-running legal battle.
The judges agreed with an earlier tribunal decision that found two Uber drivers were “workers” under British law, therefore entitling them to benefits such as paid holidays and the minimum wage.
Uber had argued that the two were independent contractors. The company has 65,000 active drivers in the UK.
The Silicon Valley-based firm had appealed the original ruling all the way to Britain’s top court.