Uber New Zealand Appeals Driver Employment Status Ruling



In 2022, a landmark decision was made that said four Uber drivers were employees and not contractors. On Tuesday, Uber New Zealand went to court to challenge that decision.

Furthermore, Radio New Zealand reported that Uber’s lawyer, Paul Wicks, told the Court of Appeals that the Employer Court’s decision in 2022 was wrong because it assumed the driver was weak.

Wicks said that the drivers’ jobs were more like contracting because they had a lot of freedom to choose their own hours and could accept or turn down work.

Related link: Minneapolis Uber, Lyft Will Close Over Minimum Wage Law

According to the RNZ story, Wicks also said that the drivers could work somewhere else and make more money by taking on extra work.

In addition, lawyer for the respondent Peter Cranney said that the drivers’ contracts were “extremely difficult and complicated documents.”

The fact that the clauses in the document were hard to understand seemed to be done on purpose to “obscure the legal reality of them,” according to RNZ.

Unions back Uber drivers

Moreover, in front of the Court of Appeal, drivers held a protest to show their support for the Uber drivers who are in court.

President-elect of the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Rachel Mackintosh, said that drivers should have help in their fight against a company that is “trampling on their legal employment rights.”

Related link: Uber To Raise Minimum Wage For French Drivers

“This case is important for everyone who works, not just gig or platform workers.” As Mackintosh said in a statement, “all workers who have been wrongly classified as contractors have the right to test their employment status in court. It should worry us all that this government is threatening to take that right away.”

“There is a real difference between a worker and an employee. Most of the time, the Uber drivers at the centre of this case are workers. No, they are not independent workers. Lastly, the platform provider heavily influences them, setting their pay and punishing them if they try to set their own hours. They are unable to negotiate contracts.

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