French tribunal rules in favour of Uber in employment status case

14 February 2018

Employment status has been under the magnifying glass of the tribunals for several months with business models of companies such as Deliveroo, Parcelforce, Addison Lee and Uber being challenged by individuals who believed they were wrongly classified as self-employed and subsequently denied their employment rights.

Earlier this month, a French labour tribunal ruled in favour of Uber over the employment status of one of its drivers, Florian Menard. The ruling is in direct conflict with the decisions made in both the Employment Tribunal (“ET”) and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) cases held in London which ruled that Uber drivers in the UK should be classified as workers and not self-employed.

The French tribunal found that;

  • Uber was an intermediation service as opposed to a transportation business meaning that Uber merely introduced drivers to clients through their app and Mr Menard had been free to drive the hours he chose and to refuse trips.

The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) ruled in direct contrast with this in 2017 stating that Uber was a transport services company and requiring it to accept stricter regulation and licensing rules within the EU as a taxi operator. The decision made in Luxembourg applies across the whole of the EU, including the UK and cannot be appealed against. This does not however prevent Uber from engaging individuals as self-employed drivers as opposed to their employees.

  • The parties were bound by no employment contract and that agreement is in fact a commercial contract concluded between Mr Menard and Uber.  

Mr Menard has one month to appeal the tribunal’s decision.

Click here to read our blog on employment status and substitution.

Click here to read our news item on Uber losing their appeal at the EAT.