Is making Uber taxi drivers take a English written test discriminatory?

A legal action by Uber, the taxi-hailing app has been launched against Transport for London (TfL) following the introduction of a written English test from 1 October 2016.

TfL dictates that anyone from a non-English speaking country who applies for a private car hire licence or to renew a licence in London will need to pass the test. Uber is challenging the requirement on the basis that requiring a written exam could put many drivers out of business. Uber accepts the need for them to be able to speak English but says the requirement is discriminatory under the Equality Act because drivers from English-speaking countries are not required to take the test. It is claimed that the test will cost £200 and require a higher level of English than the current British citizen test which only addresses speaking and listening.

Whilst the Uber taxi drivers will be self-employed, they are still covered by the Equality Act.

The case will be of interest to businesses who utilise workers from overseas and offer insight into what are acceptable parameters to set around language skills for those seeking to earn an income.

If you would like to discuss your recruitment processes and any steps to take to make sure your organisation doesn’t fall foul of discrimination law, please contact Eagle HR on 0808 168 5780.