Watch out for claims based on worker status

A number of drivers for Uber, the app based taxi firm, are currently awaiting decisions  from the Employment Tribunal on claims that they are workers rather than self-employed and therefore should receive basic worker rights, such as National Minimum Wage and holiday pay. 

Whilst Uber drivers use their own vehicles, set their own hours and can choose which fares to accept, the drivers assert that they are in fact workers as Uber pays them, monitors and rates performance and requires particular routes and processes to be followed.  The ruling on the Uber case is expected in the next couple of weeks and may provide interesting guidance to recruiters and hirers that are concerned about the employment status of their temporary workforce.

If the claims succeed and the Employment Tribunal finds that the individuals are workers with worker rights, not only could Uber face considerable pay outs for the claimants in this case and see a huge impact on its business model, but this could also bring the issue of employee/worker status back into the headlines, potentially opening up the status question for other individuals, including agency workers.

It has also been reported that there are four similar cases against cycle courier companies due to be heard later this year.

Theresa Mimnagh, Associate Director at Lawspeed said “the issue of employee or worker status is a complex one, but something that employment businesses have already been dealing with for many years, following on from court decisions. The best way for a recruiter to protect itself and a hirer against a claim is to ensure that contractual arrangements are both reflective of the actual nature of the relationship between the hirer, agency and candidate and offer appropriate commercial protection, for example accurate terminology,  requirements, exclusions and indemnities and ensuring that internal staff understand that there is a difference in status”.

For assistance with employee, or worker claims, staff training, internal processes and contractual documentation, contact Lawspeed on 01273 236 236.