The Supreme Court of Canada has allowed Uber drivers to take the next step in their fight to be recognized as employees. In a decision today, the high court upheld an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that opened the door to a class-action suit aimed at securing a minimum wage, vacation pay and other benefits for drivers.
Ontario’s highest court said a clause in Uber’s services agreement that requires all disputes to go through arbitration in the Netherlands amounted to illegally outsourcing an employment standard.
In its decision, the Supreme Court says the arbitration agreement is invalid, noting someone in Heller’s position could not be expected to appreciate the financial and legal implications of the arbitration clause.
“We agree with the Court of Appeal. This is an arbitration agreement that makes it impossible for one party to arbitrate,” said seven of the high court justices.
Another justice who sided with Heller went even further, saying the arbitration agreement with Uber effectively bars him from accessing a legally determined dispute resolution, imposing undue hardship on Heller and undermining the rule of law.
The ruling has implications for Hamilton where more than 4,000 drivers work for Uber.