The Supreme Court rendered the 107-Tai-Shang-42 Civil Decision of October 25, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that whether a driver is objectively selected by a taxi fleet to an extent sufficient to cause other people to view the driver as an individual serving the company should be explored in detailed by the court, which should not jump to the conclusion that there is no employment relationship under Article 188 of the Civil Code between the two.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant filed a complaint asserting as follows. Appellee A was a taxi driver of the business passenger vehicle at issue and hit the Appellant carelessly without heeding the traffic condition in the front, resulting in the injury at issue to the Appellant. In addition, the lamp housing on top of the business passenger vehicle, the vehicle doors and back bumper were all printed with a logo of Appellee Company B’s taxi fleet. This was objectively sufficient to identify Appellee A as an employee serving Appellee Company B. Therefore, A and B were requested to assume joint and several liabilities in accordance with Article 188 of the Civil Code. The original decision rejected the portion about Appellee Company B’s joint and several payment. Dissatisfied, the Appellant filed this appeal.
According to this Decision, the provision concerning the liability of an employee under Article 188 of the Civil Code is made to protect victims. Therefore, the employee within the meaning of such article is not limited to an employee receiving compensation under an employment contract and includes those whose services are objectively used by others and who are thus subject to the supervision of the users.
This Decision further pointed out that the original trial court had held that the doors and back bumper of the business passenger vehicle at issue were all printed with the logo of Appellee Company B’s tax fleet. In addition, the Appellant asserted that Appellee Company B conducts a standard operating procedure for offering passenger service training to its affiliated taxi drivers and has the right to unilaterally decide if the taxi fare is to be increased during the Chinese New Year and if a preferential campaign (including its specifics) is to be conducted. Appellee Company B even pays yearend bonuses to its affiliated taxi drivers. Furthermore, Appellee Company B admitted that it could expel from the taxi fleet any affiliated taxi driver who had engaged in any improper act or had been involved in significant disputes. Therefore, the Appellant asserted that Appellee A was objectively selected, directed and supervised by Appellee Company B, and this was sufficient for others to identify Appellee A as an individual serving Appellee Company B. Hence, there was still room for further investigation and determination. Failing to explore this in detail, the original trial court inappropriately jumped to the conclusion that there was no employment relationship between Appellee A and Company B and rendered a decision unfavorable to the Appellant. Therefore, the original decision was reversed and remanded.