Uber lost an appeal against a landmark 2016 ruling that the ride-hailing firm should treat its U.K. drivers as workers entitled to benefits like a minimum wage and holiday pay. A majority of judges at the U.K.’s Court of Appeal, the second-highest court in the land, ruled in favor of Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, who in 2016 argued at an employment tribunal that they were employees working for the company, rather than self-employed.
Uber argues that its drivers should be treated as self-employed — much in the same way that most traditional taxi drivers are — rather than workers directly employed by the company.
It says it should be treated more like an agency that connects drivers with passengers. According to the company, this arrangement provides more flexibility for its drivers, allowing them to work on their own terms.
The firm faced off in court with the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), a labor union representing drivers Farrar and Aslam. Following the ruling, Uber said it had been granted permission to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court and planned on doing so.
The embattled ride-hailing firm has navigated through a number of legal challenges and regulatory disputes in various countries including right here in the United States. The latest ruling is seen as a significant challenge for the so-called gig economy, where people work for companies on a freelance basis without fixed contracts. Uber is one of the key companies that fall under that term, with others including Airbnb and Deliveroo.
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