Switzerland’s Federal Court has upheld a ruling that the US ride-hailing firm should be treated as an employer, rejecting Uber’s attempt to overturn a Geneva court’s verdict.
“According to the Federal Court, the cantonal court did not rule arbitrarily when it ruled that Uber drivers working in Geneva had an employment relationship with Uber BV. The Federal Court dismisses the corresponding appeal,” it said in a press releaseExternal link on Friday accompanying the verdict.
The Geneva cantonal authorities called it a “historic decision”, adding that it will serve as jurisprudence for all Swiss cantons.
Uber must now cease its operations in Geneva while it complies with the law, the Geneva authorities added. The caseExternal link dates back to 2019 when the canton decided to classify Uber as an employer, hence obliging it to pay social benefits to its drivers to continue operating.
Reacting to Friday's court decision, Uber said the ruling does not take into account the fact that "drivers do not want to be employed". It confirmed that it has no option but to temporarily suspend its services in Geneva. The company intends to "resume contact with the authorities to find a solution acceptable to all", adding that its activities in other cantons are not directly affected.
The ride-sharing app firm, which was founded in 2009, has caused certain controversy since its arrival in Switzerland in 2014. Several other similar Uber court decisions have been taken in other cantons, such as ZurichExternal link, GenevaExternal link and Vaud, relating to individual litigation, labour law and social security issues. Several other legal cases are pending.
The California-based company whose ride-sharing service has expanded worldwide stands accused in many countries of bypassing national labour protection standards and shunning collective negotiation with drivers who work on freelance terms.
In a separate ruling on food delivery service Uber Eats, the Federal Court on Friday upheld an appeal contesting whether the company was a recruitment service, as Geneva authorities had decided in 2019.
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