The ride-hailing business had been appealing against giving drivers basic employment protections since a tribunal loss in 2016.
Uber has lost a Court of Appeal battle against giving its drivers basic employment protections, including minimum wage and holiday pay.
The judgement could put Uber’s business model in the UK at risk, requiring it to recognise drivers as “limb (b)” workers – crucially allowing them to collective bargaining rights.
The company has been engaged in legal appeals since 2016, when an employment tribunal found it unlawfully classed drivers as independent contractors.
Sir Terence Etherton, the second most senior judge in England and Wales, told the court that the tribunal was “not only entitled, but correct” to class Uber drivers as workers.
He added: “Not only do we see no reason to disagree with the factual conclusions of the [tribunal] as to the working relationship between Uber and the drivers, but we consider that [it] was plainly correct.”
During the course of the appeals process, the company has not implemented the tribunal’s findings – which the High Court upheld by a majority of two to one.
A spokesperson for Uber told Sky News: “This decision was not unanimous and does not reflect the reasons why the vast majority of drivers choose to use the Uber app.
“We have been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and will do so,” the company added.
To protest against the lack of rights during the appeals process, Uber drivers went on strike in October and called for passengers to not use the app during the same period in a show of solidarity.