UK Supreme Court justices have ruled against Uber and said that drivers should be classed as workers.
Seven justices ruled on the latest round of a long-running fight between Uber operating companies and drivers on Friday, after a hearing in July.
Uber operating companies, who said drivers were contractors not workers, appealed to the UK Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight.
Justices dismissed Uber’s appeal.
Lawyers said the ruling will have implications for the gig economy.
An employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that Uber drivers were workers, and were entitled to workers’ rights.
That ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal, and by Court of Appeal judges.
Lawyers representing Uber operating companies told UK Supreme Court justices that the employment tribunal ruling was wrong.
They said drivers did not “undertake to work” for Uber but were “independent, third party contractors”.
But lawyers representing drivers said the tribunal was entitled to conclude that drivers were working.
A law firm enlisted by the GMB union to represent Uber drivers says they will now be entitled to compensation for lost pay.
Leigh Day lawyers think tens of thousands of Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 (€13,821) each.
A Leigh Day spokeswoman said the case would return to an employment tribunal, for decisions to be made on how much compensation drivers should get.