Rb. Amsterdam - C/13/696010 / HA ZA 21-81

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The District Court of Amsterdam issued a default judgment ordering Uber to reinstate 6 drivers that were dismissed solely on the basis of automated processing. The judgment required Uber to pay a penalty of €5,000 for every day it does not comply with the order, as well as €100,474 in damages.

Rb. Amsterdam - C/13/696010 / HA ZA 21-81
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Court: Rb. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Jurisdiction: Netherlands
Relevant Law: Article 22 GDPR
Decided: 24.02.2021
Published: 14.04.2021
Parties: Uber B.V.
National Case Number/Name: C/13/696010 / HA ZA 21-81
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2021:1415
Appeal from:
Appeal to:
Original Language(s): Dutch
Original Source: de Rechtspraak (in Dutch)
Initial Contributor: n/a

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

Five Uber drivers from the United Kingdom, and one from the Netherlands, argued that they had been wrongfully accused of fraudulent activity and consequently dismissed by Uber by solely algorithmic means in the sense of Article 22 GDPR.

The Uber drivers were represented by the App Drivers & Couriers Union ('ADCU') and Workers Info Exchange ('WIE').

Holding[edit | edit source]

The Court issued a default judgment as Uber was not present at the hearing.

It:

  • considered Uber's decisions regarding the finding of fraudulent activity, the violation of its terms and conditions, and the employees' consequent dismissal, unlawful;
  • ordered Uber to reinstate the drivers' accounts within one week of the service of the judgment;
  • ordered Uber to pay the drivers a penalty of €5,000 for each day or part thereof that it does not comply with the main order, up to a maximum of €50,000;
  • ordered Uber to pay each driver damages, totalling €100,474.

Comment[edit | edit source]

A default judgment is a binding judgment that may be issued without the execution of a full hearing if the defendant (in this instance, Uber), although notified, fails to reply to the court and does not appear at the court hearing.

The WIE has highlighted that the judgment represents the first time a court has ordered the overturning of an automated decision to dismiss workers from employment.

However, Uber has argued that the default judgment was not correctly served, stating "Uber only became aware of this default judgment [on April 8] due to representatives of the ADCU not following proper legal procedure. With no knowledge of the case, the court handed down a default judgment in our absence, which was automatic and not considered." Uber is now making an application to have the default judgment dismissed and have its case heard.

Notably, Uber pointed to a different judgment issued 2 weeks later by the same Court on 11 March 2021, Rb. Amsterdam - C/13/692003/HA RK 20-302, which partially found in Uber's favour on similar issues. In the March judgment, the Court held that Uber's contract termination procedure does not constitute automated decision making under Article 22 GDPR.

This was reported by various media publications, linked in the 'Further Resources' section below.

Further Resources[edit | edit source]

WIE, 'Dutch & UK courts order Uber to reinstate ‘robo-fired’ drivers' (14.04.21): https://www.workerinfoexchange.org/post/dutch-uk-courts-order-uber-to-reinstate-robo-fired-drivers

Guardian, 'Court tells Uber to reinstate five UK drivers sacked by automated process' (14.04.21): https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/apr/14/court-tells-uber-to-reinstate-five-uk-drivers-sacked-by-automated-process

ITV, 'Dutch court orders Uber to reinstate six drivers fired for app fraud' (14.04.21): 'https://www.itv.com/news/2021-04-14/dutch-court-orders-uber-to-reinstate-six-drivers-fired-for-app-fraud

TechCrunch, 'Uber hit with default ‘robo-firing’ ruling after another EU labor rights GDPR challenge' (14.04.21): https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/14/uber-hit-with-default-robo-firing-ruling-after-another-eu-labor-rights-gdpr-challenge/

English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

The decision below is a machine translation of the Dutch original. Please refer to the Dutch original for more details.


                                
                            
        



    Authority
    Court of Amsterdam
    Date of judgment
    24-02-2021

    Date of publication
    
14-04-2021

    Case number
    
C / 13/696010 / HA ZA 21-81

    
    Jurisdictions
    
Civil rights
    
    Special characteristics
    
First instance - single
Miter
    
    Content indication
    
Judgment in absentia.

    Locations
    
Rechtspraak.nl
    
        
        
            Enriched pronunciation
        





    
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            Statement
        
        
  
    
      
        
          
        
      
      
        
          
        
      verdict
    COURT OF AMSTERDAM
    
    
      Private Law Department
     
    
    
    
    
      case number / cause list number: C / 13/696010 / HA ZA 21-81
     
    
    
      
        Judgment of February 24, 2021
      
     
    
    
      in the case of
     
    
  
  
    
      1 [claimant 1],
    residing in [residence 1] (United Kingdom),
    2. [claimant 2],
    residing in [residence 1] (United Kingdom),
    3. [claimant 3],
    residing in [residence 1] (United Kingdom),
    4. [claimant 4],
    residing in [residence 1] (United Kingdom),
    5. [claimant 5],
    residing in [residence 2],
    6. [claimant 6],
    
      residing in [residence 3] (United Kingdom),
      plaintiffs,
      lawyer mr. A.H. Ekker in Amsterdam,
     
    
    
      against
     
    
    
      the private company with limited liability
      
        UBER B.V.,
      Based in Amsterdam,
      defendant,
      not published.
     
    
    
  
  
    
      1 The procedure
    
      1.1.
      The course of the procedure is evidenced by:
      
        -
          the summons, with exhibits,
        
        -
          the default granted against the defendant.
        
      
      
    
    
      1.2.
      Finally, verdict has been determined.
      
    
  
  
    
      2 The assessment
    
      2.1.
      The claimed penalty will be limited as follows.
      
    
    
      2.2.
      The claim does not otherwise appear to the court to be unlawful or unfounded and will be awarded as follows.
      
    
    
      2.3.
      As the unsuccessful party, the defendant will be ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. The costs on the part of the claimants are estimated at:
      - summons € 100.89
      - court fee 1,666.00
      - lawyer salary 1,770.00 (1.0 point × rate € 1,770.00)
      Total € 3,536.89
      
    
  
  
    
      3 The decision
    The court
    
    
      3.1.
      reserves the right that the defendant's decisions regarding the alleged violation of defendant's terms and conditions and / or the alleged fraudulent acts of plaintiffs and / or the termination of the agreement between defendant and plaintiffs and / or deactivation of Uber Driver accounts of claimants can be regarded as decisions based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which have legal consequences for claimants or which otherwise significantly affect them, within the meaning of Article 22 (1) GDPR,
      
    
    
      3.2.
      destroys defendant's automated decisions regarding the alleged violation of defendant's terms and conditions and / or plaintiffs' alleged fraudulent acts and / or termination of defendant's / plaintiffs' agreement and / or deactivation of plaintiffs' Uber Driver accounts,
      
    
    
      3.3.
      orders defendant to undo the deactivation of claimants' Uber Driver account within one week of serving this judgment,
      
    
    
      3.4.
      orders the defendant to pay the plaintiffs a penalty of € 5,000.00 for each day or part thereof that they fail to comply with in 3.3. pronounced main conviction, up to a maximum of € 50,000.00 has been reached,
      
    
    
      3.5.
      orders the defendant to pay an amount of € 19,012.00 (nineteen thousand and twelve euros) to the plaintiff under 1 within fourteen days after this judgment has been served, plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.6.
      orders the defendant to pay an amount of € 15,968.00 (fifteen thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight euros) to the plaintiff sub 2 within fourteen days after this judgment has been served, plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.7.
      orders the defendant to pay an amount of € 16,012.00 (sixteen thousand and twelve euros) to the plaintiff sub 3 within fourteen days after this judgment has been served, plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
    
    
      3.8.
      orders the defendant to pay an amount of € 19,518.00 (nineteen thousand five hundred eighteen euros) to the plaintiff sub 4 within fourteen days after this judgment has been served, plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.9.
      orders the defendant to pay an amount of € 8,206.00 (eight thousand two hundred and six euros) to the plaintiff sub 5 within fourteen days after this judgment has been served, plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.10.
      orders the defendant to pay an amount of € 20,258.00 (twenty thousand two hundred and fifty-eight euros) to the plaintiff sub 6 within fourteen days after this judgment has been served, plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.11.
      orders the defendant to pay the plaintiffs an amount of € 1,500.00 (fifteen hundred euros), plus the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from December 30, 2020 until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.12.
      orders the defendant to pay the costs of the proceedings, estimated to date on the part of the plaintiffs at € 3,536.89, to be increased by the statutory interest as referred to in art. 6: 119 BW on this amount from the fourteenth day after the notification of this judgment until the day of full payment,
      
    
    
      3.13.
      declares this judgment with regard to the provisions under 3.2. to 3.12. executable from stock,
      
    
    
      3.14.
      rejects the more advanced or otherwise advanced.
      
      
        This judgment was rendered by mr. L. Voetelink and pronounced in public on February 24, 2021.1
      
    
  
  
1
    type: AAK
    coll: