Briefing

U.K.’s top court rules Uber drivers are workers, not independent contractors

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The U.K. Supreme Court dismissed the ride-hailing company’s appeal, upholding a lower-court ruling that a group of former drivers were “very tightly defined and controlled by Uber,” and were entitled to workers’ rights like minimum wage and paid leave. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Friday’s ruling applies specifically to the 25 former drivers who sued the company over their employment status back in 2016. But workers’ rights advocates say it could affect Uber’s business model—and that of other gig-economy platforms—in the U.K. and potentially elsewhere. Lawmakers in Europe, where gig workers have lodged scores of complaints over employment status, are considering ways to improve conditions for these workers. Meanwhile, Uber published a white paper this week calling on the EU to continue classifying gig workers as self-employed, excluding them from the full suite of benefits available to employees. In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said the company respected the Supreme Court ruling, and that it has made several changes since the case began to give drivers “more control over how they earn and providing new protections like free insurance in case of sickness or injury.”