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Why does Uber matter to your business legally?

Published on 28 July 2016 | Modified on 6 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

Many businesses take on “consultants” believing that they are self employed and do not have employment rights.

The new disruptive software backed taxi firm Uber is facing a legal challenge from their drivers who say that the firm are in fact acting unlawfully by not offering holiday and sick pay. In fact, employment status is one of the ‘greyest’ areas of employment law.

The outcome of this matter has our entire employment department looking at the case carefully as the decision can have far reaching implications for employee’s rights and tax liabilities, as well as opening flood gates for other similar claims where companies work in a similar style.

The drivers at Uber are claiming that they are workers because the terms and conditions of their work means that Uber does have control over them therefore they cannot be said to be self-employed. If this were true the drivers are entitled to national minimum wage, holiday pay etc.

Uber will seek to argue that the drivers are their own boss and the only control that they have over them is when putting them in touch with customers. It would appear that the main argument here would be that Uber are simply a technology company who do not provide the service themselves.

A number of questions in any employment status related case have to be raised: Do they have to do the work themselves? Can someone at any time tell them what to do, where to carry out the work or how to carry out the work? Are there a set amount of hours that have to be followed?

If the answer to any of the above questions can be yes then this might be indicative of an employee or worker status. Someone is more likely to be classed as being self employed if they provide the main items and equipment, needed to carry out the work, themselves. Someone can also fall under the self employed status if they work for fixed fees, irrelevant of the time spent on each job, or if they are to work regularly for a number of different people and companies.

Do you have people working for you whose employment status appears to be grey? Could you be acting unlawfully and failing to give these people the correct employment rights and benefits? If so, our Employment law team can help you today. Call Adam on 01270 625478, or email him at


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