Uber employment saga continues

2017-05-16 Jennifer Renney-Butland posted:

Uber has been dealt a further blow after a preliminary opinion from the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice decided that the company is not a digital service and should abide by national laws governing transport providers, meaning that Uber may have to obtain necessary licenses in relevant member states including the UK.

Whilst the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding, it is usually closely followed when the European Court makes its final judgment later this year.

The opinion stems from a case brought by a group of Barcelona taxi drivers called the Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi who are suing Uber for unfair competition in Barcelona’s Commercial Courts.

Currently, Uber’s drivers are not classified as employees and are free to choose their own hours. They do not need a taxi license or meter. The smartphone app operated by Uber uses GPS data for passengers to order a car.

Uber claimed this separated it from traditional taxi companies and it was instead providing ‘information society services’, but the Advocate General disagreed, saying that Uber controls the ‘economically important’ aspects of the transport service, including imposing conditions on drivers; financially rewarding them and telling them of where and when they can rely on a high volume of trips.

It remains to be seen whether Uber drivers will require licenses and whether they will ultimately acquire employee status. No doubt employers and employees, not to mention the paying public, will be watching these developments with interest.

If you have further questions regarding this topic do not hesitate to contact us at 01225 632240 or email info@renneyandco.com.

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