Court of Appeal recognizes Uber driver as "employment contract"

Uber announced that it was going to appeal in cassation after the Paris Court of Appeal re-qualified the link between the online booking platform and one of its former drivers in employment contract ".

The decision made her stand out: for the first time, the Paris Court of Appeal found, in a judgment delivered Thursday, January 10, that the relationship uniting the Uber online booking platform to one of his former independent drivers was a contract of employment.

This VTC driver was brought to justice in June 2017. He complained that Uber had " deactivated his account, depriving him of the possibility of receiving new reservation requests ". The industrial tribunal was declared incompetent on this case, because of the absence of a contract of employment, this one had been sent to the court of appeal.

The question of exclusivity

The latter finally found that there was a sufficient cluster of clues Characterizing " the bond of subordination ". Following this judgment, Uber reacted by recalling that " drivers choose to use the app for independence and the freedom to connect, whenever and wherever they want. The platform also insisted that no exclusivity condition prevents drivers from operating on behalf of other competing companies.

Some experts believe that this last argument is not unfounded. Lawyer specialized in social law, Me Emmanuelle Barbara points thus a legal blur around this business. Uber alone characterizes what a platform is. How can one reason as if it were a normal enterprise? She wondered. " I do not know any employees who have the right to go to work at Peugeot in the morning and at Renault in the afternoon. "

Legal size reversal for online delivery platforms

"Fixed-term contracts of 15 to 20 minutes"

However, the evidence put forward by Uber did not succeed. " We focused on the race, from the driver's connection to the customer's ratingexplains Me Fabien Masson, the driver's lawyer. We wanted to show that there was a link of subordination during these races. The driver's defense therefore called for these benefits to be fixed-term contracts. " These are a new type of CDD, 15 or 20 minutes , Says Me Fabien Masson.

On November 28, 2018, the Court of Cassation ruled on the case of a bicycle delivery person for another platform, Take It Easy, which went bankrupt in 2016. She then decided that there was indeed a link between subordination between the company and its delivery person. This decision could, according to Me Fabien Masson, « necessarily influence The Paris Court of Appeal.

Check on the drivers

In its judgment, the Court of Appeal stated that " an essential condition of the independent individual enterprise is the free choice that its author makes to create it " but also "Mastery of the organization of his tasks, his search for customers and suppliers. "

Gold, " when the driver accepts a race, Uber forbids him to take the coordinates of his client to contact him after the trip, says the plaintiff's lawyer. The court therefore considered that by prohibiting him from contacting his passengers, Uber removes one of the attributes of the self-employed, namely the possibility of developing his clientele. "

Legal size reversal for online delivery platforms

" Are you still there ? "

The Court of Appeal also noted that the complainant could not fix " freely its tariffs or the conditions of exercise of its transport service ". In addition, it found that Uber did control this driver because " after three refusals of solicitations, (he) receives the message "Are you still here?" ".

Although this judgment deals solely with the case of the complainant driver, it gives the possibility to any driver to go to the industrial tribunal to ask for requalification in contract of employment, judge Me Fabien Masson. This will rebalance the balance of power between the platforms and the drivers. "

Uber has indicated its intention to "To appeal against that judgment". The outcome of this case should not occur before two or three years.

Clément Grillet