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You Have Been Deactivated-Uber’s Scifi Way of Terminating a Driver

November 5, 2014 Legal Team

Christopher Ortiz, from Albuquerque, drove for UberX throughout this past summer to make some extra income for his media start-up company. The beauty of Uber’s much-contested independent contractor system is that Ortiz was able to take time off from driving to set up his company.

Months later, Ortiz decided to pick driving for Uber up again to supplement his income. When he tried to begin his second trip with Uber, he was told his account had been “deactivated” Ortiz received an email from an Uber Operations Manager, John Hamby, stating, “due to hateful statements regarding Uber through social medial”…”Your account has been permanently deactivated.”

What comments were so hurtful that Uber took so much offense? Briefly, after Ortiz took his break from Uber, he tweeted an article from Pando Daily, web technology and news publication, about an Uber driver being robbed in Los Angeles. The article was accompanied by a brief summary from Ortiz: “Driving for Uber, not much safer than driving a taxi.”

Ortiz took to social media and tweeted out a screenshot of the email. The email went viral with Forbes and BuzzFeed reporting on it. Uber almost immediately reversed its decision. The company tweeted a response—a screenshot of a message reinstating Ortiz as a driver.

In the media age, it is frightening that an employer can monitor your social media accounts with such ease, but in the inverse, employers must be cautious that their otherwise private hiring and firing decisions can be broadcast within seconds of it occurring. Needless to say, both parties must be careful introducing social media hiring decisions into their vocabulary.

Source: The Guardian