France : Reclassification of Uber drivers, Paris Court of appeal

Date of decision:

"In a decision dated 12 May 2021 (RG 18/02660), the Paris Court of Appeal ruled that the service contract concluded between UBER BV and a driver had to be requalified as an employment contract. This decision follows the decision of the Court of Cassation of 4 March 2020. In support of its decision, the court noted, among other things, that the driver, by entering into the service contract, "integrated a service organised by Uber, which unilaterally determined the conditions of execution of the service". In addition, the company reserved the right to modify "at any time the calculation of the user rate", the driver having suffered in this case an "average decrease of 20% in rates". Another element that was retained was that Uber had "the power to control the performance of the service and to punish any breaches observed" with regard to its driver. The company used this power against the driver by temporarily disconnecting him following his refusal to accept passengers. From the combination of these elements, the Court of Appeal concluded that an employment contract existed. The driver was awarded €58,000 in various allowances and reimbursement of expenses. The decision is not yet final, as UBER has the option of appealing to the Supreme Court.
The plaintiff had filed a claim with the Paris labour court in November 2016 to assert his rights as an employee (compensation for paid leave, dismissal, concealed work and reimbursement of professional expenses), after the termination of his contract on 16 August 2016. In its judgment of 29 January 2018, the industrial tribunal dismissed all his claims.

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