Business Technology

Friday 24 November 2017

Uber faces fresh sex discrimination claim from female driver

Uber Photo: Reuters
Uber Photo: Reuters

Alan Jones

Taxi hailing firm Uber is facing a fresh employment tribunal claim from a female driver.

A 44-year-old woman from London has issued sex discrimination proceedings, claiming that the practices of the San Francisco-based company unfairly disadvantage women.

She claimed that the way in which the company asks her to operate is putting her and other women at risk.

The case was revealed ahead of an appeal by the company against a previous employment tribunal ruling that two drivers were workers rather than independent contractors and so qualified for rights such as holiday pay.

Uber, which was told last week its licence to operate in London is not being renewed, is challenging the decision on workers' rights at an Employment Appeals Tribunal on Wednesday.

Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: "Once again we have a member with serious concerns about Uber's systems and practices, which place the basic safety needs of the worker as secondary to the imposition of a rigid and purely profit-based model.

"We look forward to allowing the courts to examine whether this aspect of their model discriminates against women drivers."

Nigel Mackay, of employment firm Leigh Day who is representing the driver, said:

"We believe that Uber's policies do not do enough to protect female drivers.

"In particular, if a driver is faced with the threat of assault from a passenger and asks him to leave, she risks complaints and low ratings, with no right of reply, and ultimately may lose her job as a result."

Meanwhile a survey of 1,000 Uber drivers across the UK found that nine out of 10 were "very/somewhat satisfied" driving with the company and would recommend driving with Uber to others.

A similar number said Uber is a "good company to work with", while 18pc would prefer to be working with another taxi or minicab company.

The survey by research firm Orb International found that 80pc of drivers say they would prefer to stay as an independent contractor.

Johnny Heald, Managing Director of ORB International, said: "While Uber has been in the headlines for the past few days, we've heard little about the 40,000 drivers who could be impacted by the licence refusal.

"Our poll shows that four in five drivers rely on Uber as their main source of income. They also value the flexibility of choosing when and where they drive."

Press Association

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