Justice requalifies in "contract of employment" the relationship of a driver with Uber

The Paris Court of Appeal considered that there was a "relationship of subordination" linking the driver to the platform. A first in France for the American giant, who will appeal in cassation.

It is a decision that could make jurisprudence. In a judgment delivered Thursday, the Paris Court of Appeal considered that the link uniting a former driver to the Uber platform is indeed a "contract of employment". A "first" in France for the American giant, who announced that he was going to appeal in cassation.

In that decision, the Court of Appeal explains that it found "a sufficient cluster of clues" which characterizes the "subordination link" linking the driver to the leader of the VTC. The plaintiff sued in June 2017, two months after Uber had "deactivated his account", "depriving him of the possibility of receiving new requests for reservation," the court said.

No independence

The case had been sent back last June to the Commercial Court of Paris, the prud'hommes having found themselves incompetent. In particular, the court justifies its decision because "an essential condition of the independent individual enterprise is the free choice of its author to create it [...], mastery of the organization of his tasks, his search for customers and suppliers ".

However, the plaintiff was not able to "build himself own customers", a possibility prohibited by Uber, and did not "set freely" its rates or the conditions of exercise of its transport service, "says the court. In addition, she argues, Uber exercised a "check" on him because "after three refusals of solicitations, (the driver receives) the message: + Are you still there? + ".

If a driver decides to disconnect, the platform "reserves the right to disable or otherwise restrict access or use" of the application. This practice "has the effect of encouraging drivers to stay connected to expect a race and, thus, to be constantly available for the duration of the connection, at the disposal of the company Uber BV," details the court.