The company Uber was condemned on Friday by the industrial tribunal of Lyon to pay some 17 million euros to 139 VTC drivers, a “fairly historic decision”, according to their lawyer, Me Stéphane Teyssier. Contacted by AFP, the American firm has already announced its desire to appeal.

Lyon drivers had seized the industrial tribunal in 2020 to have the relationship that linked them to Uber reclassified as an employment contract. The hearing was held in June 2022 and the council had reserved its decision.

“Unprecedented in France”

“We had a pretty historic decision today. Uber was ordered to requalify the contracts of 139 drivers for an amount of 17 to 20 million euros, ”Me Teyssier told AFP, confirming information from the regional daily Le Progrès. “A conviction of such magnitude is unprecedented in France,” he said.

The group will have to pay damages or compensation for various breaches of the Labor Code such as dismissal without real and serious cause, concealed work, faulty execution of the employment contract, unjustified disciplinary sanction or non-compliance with the legislation relating to maximum working hours and compulsory rest time.


The industrial tribunals ruled “on the basis of well-established case law from the Court of Cassation of January 2020. The Court of Cassation considered that Uber drivers should be considered as employees (…) This is the logical application of such case law,” said Me Teyssier.

American society protests. “This decision goes against the position widely shared by industrial tribunals and courts of appeal which confirm the independence of drivers. VTC using the application, judging in particular that there is no work obligation, nor exclusivity vis-à-vis Uber or that the drivers remain completely free in the organization of their activity”, commented a spokesperson contacted by theAFPwithout giving the amount that Uber will have to pay.

Uber ‘acts like a cartel’

“This deliberation in a way recognizes the abuse of a dominant position by Uber, which has acted like a cartel for so many years”, reacted the association of independent drivers from Lyon (Acil) in a press release, welcoming of a “historic victory”. For Fabien Tosolini, national delegate of the Union-Indépendants union, “this important decision allows a rebalancing of the balance of power in a context of negotiations, initiated last September, between the platforms and the trade union organizations”.

The Court of Cassation had recognized in March 2020 the existence of a relationship of subordination between Uber and one of its drivers, judging that the status of independent was “fictitious” and that he should be considered as an employee. Later, in September 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal considered that the employment relationship between a driver and Uber could “be analyzed as an employment contract” and not as a commercial relationship.

But, according to Uber, which describes the Lyon decision as “isolated”, requests for requalification as salaried drivers have not been successful in more than 65% of cases (298 drivers not requalified out of 460 requests) since the stoppage of the Court of Cassation on March 2020.

” Logical sequence “

“Uber is surprised by this decision, but it is the logical continuation of all the decisions that have taken place in Europe, which take place in France, ”retorted Me Teyssier. Uber clarified that “the drivers’ accounts (would) be deactivated upon receipt of the judgment as ordered by the council”.

The status of self-employed, on which platforms like Uber or Deliveroo base their model, is questioned in a growing number of countries. “We are determined to advance the issue of the rights of platform workers and convinced that the right path is that of social dialogue with the representatives of the drivers to build a model that preserves the flexibility and independence that they acclaim, while guaranteeing concrete improvements in their conditions of activity”, underlined the spokesperson ofUberwhich has some 30,000 drivers using its platform in France.

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