Addison Lee ruling puts employee status to the fore again

The issue of employee status and what it means to be a worker has hit the headlines once again following an employment appeal tribunal ruling on the status of drivers working for private hire taxi company Addison Lee.

The BBC reports an appeal tribunal confirmed yesterday that the firm’s drivers are employees, not self-employed contractors, and should be paid the minimum wage and holiday pay.

Liana Wood, a solicitor acting for the drivers, revealed the ruling would only affect the individuals who brought the claims, all of whom have left the company and are seeking compensation.

But she added claims from about 40 further current and former Addison Lee drivers would now begin, and had a good chance of succeeding.

Elaborating on their decision on Wednesday, the tribunal rejected Addison Lee’s arguments that the drivers were self-employed contractors running their own businesses – confirming that the “unrealistic terms and conditions” that drivers had to sign up to did not reflect the true nature of their relationship with the company.

For their part, Addison Lee, who can appeal against the ruling at the Court of Appeal, said in a statement: “We note the appeal verdict, which we will carefully review. Addison Lee is disappointed with the ruling as we enjoy a positive relationship with the vast majority of our 3,800 driver partners.

“In common with most of the industry, the majority are self-employed, and with earnings at a record high.”

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