Uber and Lyft are more likely to fire drivers of color

James Jordan had worked as an Uber driver in Los Angeles for 5 and a half years through the spring of 2022. But in late March, after a series of customer complaints, Jordan discovered that his account had been permanently disabled, leaving the single father of five children, for whom Uber is his only source of income, unemployed without notice.

“I’ve done over 27,000 trips,” he said. “Then, in a week or 10 days, I get more complaints than in those five and a half years.”

Jordan, who estimates he earns between $8,000 and $10,000 a month as an Uber driver, complained to the company several times, frantically sending emails to try to recover his account, but was told informed that your deactivation is final. One customer alleges that Jordan tried to stab her with his car. In response, he offered to send the company footage from his dashcam to prove that the incident didn’t happen. “But they don’t care about that,” he said.

Uber spokesperson Navideh Forghani told WIRED that the company has no record of Jordan submitting evidence to protest his deactivation.

“To get companies to respond, you have to constantly call, email, and go to the central office,” said Nicole Moore, president of Rideshare Drivers United, an independent lobbying group based in California. mind and pray that you are lucky. “For non-English-speaking drivers, there is no road ahead. It’s an exercise that knocks people down until they give up.”

Jordan is not alone. ONE new report from the civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC) and Rideshare Drivers United found that drivers of color working for Uber and Lyft—like Jordan, Black—and other drivers of color. Immigrant drivers are more likely to have their accounts disabled following customer complaints. Of the 810 drivers surveyed, 69% of non-white drivers said they had faced permanent or temporary deactivation, as opposed to just 57% of white drivers. Drivers who do not speak English or are not fully fluent in English are also more likely to have their accounts deactivated than fluent speakers.

“We have a rigorous, human-led review process in place to review reports and determine if temporary or permanent account deactivation is warranted,” Forghani said. . “Unless there is a serious emergency or safety threat, we will issue multiple warnings to motorists before permanently disabling their accounts.”

Lyft did not respond to a request for comment.

The AAAJ-ALC survey found that a quarter of drivers received negative reviews from customers for enforcing safety policies during the COVID pandemic. Jordan believes his series of complaints can be partly attributed to a conflict between Uber’s company policies, which require drivers and riders to continue to wear face masks, and California’s policies, in That lifted the requirement to wear masks. March 1, 2022. And he, like nearly half of those surveyed, wondered if his race contributed to the negative ratings that led to him being disabled.

“One of the problems here is that customer input, complaints or ratings are not checked at all,” said Winifred Kao, senior advisor at AAAJ-ALC. them and didn’t get a chance to reply. “I think what we found here with the survey is that rideshare drivers are particularly vulnerable to this type of customer discrimination, bias, harassment and retaliation. .”


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