Following the defeat of the Uber appeal in the EAT, Uber is now seeking permission to bypass the Court of Appeal in order to take its appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
The Uber Appeal
On the 10th November 2017, the EAT handed down its judgment in Uber BV and others v Aslam and others (2017). It upheld the decision at first instance that the Uber drivers are workers. There was speculation at the time that Uber may look to bypass the Court of Appeal altogether by adding itself to the appeal that is due to be heard in February 2018 by the Supreme Court, involving Pimlico Plumbers. On the 24th November 2017, a spokesperson for Uber announced that: “We have this afternoon requested permission to appeal directly to the supreme court in order that this case can be resolved sooner rather than later.” According to the Guardian: “Uber is understood to be hopeful that the supreme court will agree to hear its arguments directly before or after [the] case involving Pimlico Plumbers.“
Reaction To The Uber Appeal To Supreme Court
Responding to the latest developments, Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, the General Secretary for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) stated: “It is unfortunate that rather than focusing on how to give its drivers a guaranteed minimum wage and paid holidays, Uber is instead choosing to waste everyone’s time by appealing once more. The IWGB has already beaten Uber at the employment appeal tribunal and we are more than ready to beat them again.“
Earlier this month it was revealed that Uber had failed to disclose the fact that it had been subjected to a cyberattack in October 2016, which exposed the data of up 57 million drivers and passengers. The data included names, telephone numbers, and other sensitive information. Uber admitted that it had paid the hackers not to disclose the stolen data. In response, James Dipple-Johnstone, the deputy commissioner for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), stated that Uber’s failure to disclose “raises huge concerns around its data protection policies and ethics. It’s always the company’s responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and take steps to reduce any harm to consumers. If UK citizens were affected then we should have been notified so that we could assess and verify the impact on people whose data was exposed. Deliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines for companies.” A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, added that the cyberattack should have been reported “immediately [because] the more information a company shares in a timely manner, the better able we are to support them and prevent others falling victim. We are working closely with other agencies including the NCA and ICO to investigate how this breach has affected people in the UK and advise on appropriate mitigation measures. Based on current information, we have not seen evidence that financial details have been compromised.“