Bates Wells wins ground-breaking case against Uber

Bates Wells has won a landmark employment rights case against the global transportation company Uber before the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).


This landmark ruling follows last year’s decision by an Employment Tribunal, which held that Uber had, in effect, mischaracterised its fleet of approximately 40,000 drivers and as a consequence had denied them basic employment law protections including the right to the national minimum wage and holiday pay. In an excoriating Judgment, the Employment Tribunal criticised Uber’s use of “fictions” and “twisted language” in its contractual documentation, which it was said did not reflect the reality of relationship between Uber and its drivers.

Uber was granted the right to appeal in April 2017. In today’s Judgment, Her Honour Judge Eady QC upheld the Employment Tribunal’s original finding and affirmed that the test claimants (Mr Yaseen Aslam and Mr James Farrar) have “worker” status and, as such, an entitlement to the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

The lawyers acting for the Claimant were Paul Jennings, partner in the Employment team at Bates Wells Braithwaite, Rachel Mathieson, Solicitor and Hannah Wright, Solicitor.

Paul Jennings, partner, Bates Wells Braithwaite, said: “We are delighted with today’s Judgment which is ethically and legally the right outcome. The ruling will have significant implications for approximately 40,000 Uber drivers and, more broadly, individuals engaged across the so called ‘gig economy’. We anticipate that tens of thousands drivers will now seek to make substantial back-dated claims.
“Our clients have fought tirelessly to gain the rights that they clearly should have been afforded from the outset.

Rachel Mathieson, solicitor, Bates Wells Braithwaite, said: “This is a landmark decision in the context of an evolving labour market and one which we hope will be a critical step forwards in addressing exploitation in the gig economy.”

If you would like to request an interview with Paul Jennings or Rachel Mathieson, please contact:


Notes for Editors

  • Paul Jennings’s successfully represented Margaret Dewhurst in her law suit against another gig employer, CitySprint. As a result of the CitySprint case, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled that Dewhurst should be classified as a worker – a ruling that represents another significant milestone in the field of employment law.
  • BWB instructed Jason Galbraith Martin QC and Sheryn Omeri (of Cloister Chambers) to represent the Claimants.
  • BWB, founded in 1970, is a law firm that works for a wide range of businesses, social enterprises, charities, institutions, public bodies and high-profile individuals, across a variety of sectors. The breadth and quality of our work is acknowledged by the UK’s two independent directories, Legal 500 and Chambers UK, in 21 areas.
  • In 2015 BWB became the first UK law firm to be awarded B Corporation (B Corp) status.
  • In June 2014, BWB became the first City of London based law firm to be granted an alternative business structure (ABS) license specifically to provide a unified service to our clients. This transition confirms our ambition to be the advisors of choice in the rapidly developing arena of impact investing and social value, and reinforces BWB’s reputation for innovation in the legal and advisory marketplace.
  • BWB has over 250 staff and 38 partners, which means that we are large enough to provide a complete range of commercial legal services yet small enough to be able to provide a personal service to every client.
  • BWB was one of the first law firms in the UK to be accredited as a Living Wage employer.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of November 10, 2017.