OPBP Project on the Rights of Uber Drivers
admin 28th October 2017

OPBP, partnered with the Social Law Project at the University of the Western Cape, has recently produced a report on the employment status of Uber drivers, to assist with ongoing litigation before the Labour Court in South Africa, between Uber South Africa Technology Services (SATS) and seven respondent former Uber drivers, who were subject to ‘deactivation’ by Uber. Uber did not give reasons for the deactivation, nor did it provide the respondents with a hearing. The respondents argue that Uber is bound by South African employment law; Uber disagrees.

This gives rise to two issues. Firstly, are Uber drivers employees, who are subject to the protections of employment law? Secondly, who is (are) the employer(s) in the case of a company like Uber, which uses subsidiaries to run logistical operations but licences its App through a parent company abroad? In our report, we answer these questions, so far as is possible, in fifteen jurisdictions around the world. Our comparative study reveals interesting trends in the treatment of these questions by courts and administrative authorities, and is well worth a read.

The status of Uber drivers has been a point of serious contention around the world – in many jurisdictions, the issue is so new that it has not reached the upper appellate levels of the judicial system. In this exciting and fast-moving part of employment law, OPBP is pleased to publish this comparative report for general use. You can read the report here.