Uber's Been Denied the Chance to Take a Drivers' Rights Case Directly to the Supreme Court

By Tom Pritchard on at

If you've been paying attention to news about Uber, you'll have heard the ongoing case regarding drivers' rights. Two drivers took Uber to court over the fact that they're classified as self-employed contractors, not workers, and therefore aren't entitled to any statutory rights. The drivers won, and Uber has spent the time since escalating appeals through the courts system. Now the company has been told it can't take the matter straight to the top, and into the Supreme Court.

In case you forgot, the whole situation arose because two drivers went to an employee tribunal arguing that when they were logged into the Uber app they were effectively 'on the clock' - even if they didn't have any passengers. The argument was that if they were logged into Uber they couldn't pick up passengers using a different taxi app. The tribunal ruled in their favour, which Uber didn't like. It appealed, but the Employment Appeals Tribunal also ruled in the drivers' favour.

The next step for Uber was to go to the Court of Appeals to try an appeal there, and should that fail to work out in Uber's favour it can take it to the Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court there's nothing, so whatever is decided there sticks.

In the interests of time, and presumably legal costs, Uber tried to skip the Court of Appeals altogether. According to the union representing the drivers that initially brought the case to the tribunal, Uber's request to go straight to the top was rejected. It's not clear why, but it means the company could potentially have to argue its case twice if things don't go its way.

Part of me wonders why the company would want to get this over with quickly. Do they think skipping the Court of Appeals would make the Supreme Court more likely to rule in its favour? Is it not in its best interests to drag this case out for as long as possible, so it doesn't have to start treating drivers better in the event of failure? There's clearly something going on that we don't know about.


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