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Addison Lee is denied a right to appeal against its drivers being classed as workers in another case relating to the employment status of gig workers.
Private hire firm Addison Lee will not be permitted to appeal an Employment Tribunal’s decision that its drivers are entitled to workers’ rights, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
The decision was made in light of the recent Supreme Court judgment stating that Uber drivers, represented by law firm Leigh Day, are entitled to receive the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
Addison Lee’s appeal to the Court of Appeal had been put on hold in anticipation of the Supreme Court judgment.
Already, an Employment Tribunal in 2017 had found that a group of Addison Lee drivers were workers, meaning they qualify for basic employment rights. This was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2018.
Leigh Day, which represents more than 100 Addison Lee drivers, says it believes thousands of drivers could be entitled to an average of £10,000 in compensation.
The private hire company will, however, only be legally required to compensate those who have brought a claim.
The case is one of many concerning so-called gig workers and their employment status and rights.
Liana Wood, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “This is a huge decision in favour of Addison Lee drivers and yet another blow to big firms operating in the gig economy.
“Leigh Day has been fighting for workers’ rights on behalf of our clients for several years, so I’m delighted that the end is now finally in sight for these hard-working drivers who deserve to be treated fairly.
“This decision follows hot on the heels of the landmark Uber judgment in the Supreme Court. At Leigh Day we hope that other companies with similar business models to Uber and Addison Lee recognise that they cannot continue to deny people basic rights such as holiday pay and the national minimum wage.”
Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said:“The Addison Lee judgement is yet another sign after the Uber case that the government must urgently step in on the confusion in the gig economy. The gig economy is a tangled mix not only of people who should truly be categorised as workers, but also a very large number of legitimately self-employed people who rely on the flexibility that freelancing offers.
“Both to restore the rights of exploited workers and also to secure freedom and flexibility for legitimately self-employed people, we urge the government to write into law a clear definition of self-employment. This is the true source of the confusion in the gig economy: that while there is a definition of employee and worker status in UK law, there is still no clear definition of who exactly is self-employed. We cannot continue in a situation where the only way to define self-employment is through court case after court case.”