Addison Lee drivers could be entitled to an average of £10,000 each in compensation in the claim for worker status. Here, Liana Wood, a solicitor representing the drivers, explains why Leigh Day is bringing legal action.
When you go to work you should be able to expect your employer to treat you fairly: to pay you at least minimum wage, provide you with paid holiday and ensure you are protected you from discrimination. For Addison Lee drivers this currently does not happen.
Why? Because according to Addison Lee, its drivers don't work for the company. Instead, they claim drivers are self-employed independent contractors, operating their own businesses.
By this definition, they are not classified as workers and therefore not entitled to the same rights as other workers.
We believe it's clear from the way Addison Lee operates that its drivers should be classed as workers and therefore be given the rights that this status affords. They are highly trained, regulated drivers who are often having to work more than 60 hours a week just to make ends meet.
That's why we were the first law firm to pursue the argument that private hire drivers should be entitled to workers' rights.
And we're not the only ones who think this. The Employment Tribunal agreed that our clients are workers. Judges also dismissed Addison Lee's appeal against this ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2018.
However, Addison Lee has refused to accept these rulings and has appealed this decision again.
Similar legal action is being brought by Uber drivers, also represented by Leigh Day. The Court of Appeal has stayed Addison Lee's appeal pending the decision in the Uber Supreme Court hearing, which was heard on 21 and 22 July.
We believe thousands of Addison Lee drivers could be entitled to an average of £10,000 each in compensation. Importantly, however, Addison Lee will legally only be required to compensate those drivers who bring a claim.
Now more than ever we have seen how difficult it can be for gig economy workers. The pandemic has only drawn attention to the importance of workers' rights.
For many taxi and private hire drivers, the massive drop-off in passenger numbers has caused the loss of a regular income.
Addison Lee drivers aren't asking for that much. Just the same rights other workers are entitled to.
In times of hardship, it is more important than ever that workers' rights are acknowledged, which is why we'll continue to do all we can to make sure Addison Lee drivers get the compensation they deserve.
If you have driven for Addison Lee in the last 12 weeks you may be eligible to join the claim. Click here to register your details.
Originally published 06 August, 2020