Photo of Uber office bathrooms renews concerns about treatment of drivers

A woman who says she’s a former Uber driver claims at least one office for the ride-hailing company designated separate bathrooms for employees and drivers. 

Erika Betts, whose bio says she offers “live updates on Uber’s bullshit,” shared the photo on Thursday showing side-by-side bathrooms. One bathroom has a sign that reads “partner,” which is what Uber calls its contracted drivers. Another bathroom has a sign that says “employees.” 

“Anyone else think it’s strange that Uber views partners & employees as two separate classes of people?” Betts wrote. In a follow-up tweet, she identified the location as an office in Providence, Rhode Island. 

 

Andrew Macdonald, the senior vice president for Uber’s global operations, responded to the tweet and said the signs will be removed.

“This is not our policy and it’s absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Pressed in tweets about why the signs were allowed to go up and stay on, Macdonald also said one of the bathrooms was initially a storage unit.

“But that’s not an excuse,” he said. “I don’t believe this is the case anywhere else (and it’s certainly not our design policy) but we’re doing a full review now.”

In a statement to the Daily Dot, an Uber spokesperson admitted the bathroom signs were a misstep.

“This was a mistake and we regret it,” Uber’s statement said. “We are removing the signs and have made it clear that this was not appropriate.”

According to Betts’ tweets, she was at the Uber office to dispute her “termination.” Betts, who did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comments, said she was banned from driving for Uber after a passenger made a fraudulent charge against her.

On Twitter, people expressed dismay at what they saw as a display of classism in the workplace and further proof of poor treatment of contractors. 

 

 

 

 

 

Vice reports that Uber, alongside other gig economy employers, has been accused of denying its drivers employee status to evade taxes and maintain low labor costs.

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque