LONDON (AP) — Uber drivers in Britain should be classed as “workers” and not self-employed, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled Friday, in a decision that threatens the company’s business model and holds broader implications for the so-called gig economy.
The ruling paves the way for Uber drivers to get benefits such as paid holidays and the minimum wage, handing defeat to the ride-hailing giant in the culmination of a long-running legal battle.
The Supreme Court’s seven judges unanimously rejected Uber’s appeal against an employment tribunal ruling, which had found that two Uber drivers were “workers” under British law.
Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, the two drivers, cheered the outcome.
“This ruling will fundamentally re-order the gig economy and bring an end to rife exploitation of workers by means of algorithmic and contract trickery,” Farrar said by email. The pair took Uber to the tribunal in 2016, which ruled in their favor. The decision was upheld in two rounds of appeals before it arrived at the Supreme Court.
Uber, which has 65,000 active drivers in the U.K., had argued that Aslam and Farrar were independent contractors. The company said it respected the court’s decision, which it argued focused on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016.