Supreme Court ruling: Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed

On 19 February 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are to be treated as workers despite Uber’s four-year legal battle that their drivers are self-employed.

An ever more complex area, employment law calls for highly specialised legal expertise. From employment status and self-employment, to sickness and data protection, it is essential to keep up to speed with changes in employment law and related guidance from government agencies.

What happened?

This particular case involved drivers who took Uber to an Employment Tribunal in 2016 arguing that they were workers and should be entitled to national minimum wage and holiday pay. Uber argued that the drivers were self-employed and were therefore not entitled to such rights. However, the drivers won the Employment Tribunal claim. Uber appealed against this decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and subsequently the Court of Appeal, however both upheld the ruling. In 2020, the Supreme Court heard Uber’s final appeal of this case and unanimously held that Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed.

The service contracts between Uber and its drivers stated that the drivers were self- employed. However, this landmark ruling highlights that when determining worker status, contracts are not the starting point; rather, tribunals should look at the conduct of the parties and real nature of the working relationship.

The judgment makes clear that where a business exerts significant control over individuals such that there is ‘subordination and dependency’, this is likely to indicate worker status.

Uber will now classify their drivers as workers. The Company had no legal obligation to grant workers’ rights across the business, however, it was facing further claims from drivers as well as compensation payouts for previous entitlements.

Talk to our experts

The ruling has potential to lead to a plethora of employment status claims. Our dedicated team of employment solicitors bring extensive experience to bear in all aspects of employment law, commercial issues and related matters. Therefore, if you are an employer and are concerned about the impact of this decision or other matters on your business, please contact Audrey Spencer at

Link to Original Story:
Author: Suzanna Ghazal

Let's talk

If you require further information or legal advice, please contact us


Find out how Humphries Kirk can assist you in many personal legal issues. Click the category you need more information on and get in touch.

We value your privacy
We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience, and analyze our traffic. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information please see our privacy policy.

Employment Law for you

Find out how Humphries Kirk can assist you in many personal legal issues. Click the category you need more information on and get in touch.