Uber lets its algorithms determine which drivers should be fired. Three British drivers and a Portuguese colleague accuse the company of this. This morning they file a complaint with the court in Amsterdam.
Automated firing is not allowed, say the drivers. According to British and European privacy law, a person must make such a drastic decision and it should not depend on the outcome of an algorithm.
Although the United Kingdom is withdrawing from the European Union, the European privacy law still applies there at the moment.
Meat and blood
Uber denies that it automatically decides which drivers to leave. But according to the drivers, there is no ‘meaningful human intervention’, which is required: someone made of flesh and blood has to do more than follow an algorithm’s advice.
The drivers are said to have been fired after the Uber algorithms revealed that they were guilty of “fraudulent activities.” They deny that.
Moreover, they argue that Uber speaks very easily about fraud. If drivers refuse rides offered or strategically log out to wait for higher prices, that would already be fraud. This so-called ‘surge pricing’ is intended to attract additional drivers.
Insight into algorithms
Earlier, two drivers also started a lawsuit in Amsterdam. They wanted more insight into the workings of the Uber algorithms that determine their work.