Rideshare and delivery drivers in Chicago are calling for an ordinance that guarantees their right to appeal before being permanently kicked off the app they use for their jobs. The proposed ordinance would offer a means for app drivers accused of misconduct to tell their side of the story and recoup lost income if they were found to be unfairly deactivated.
Former Uber driver Lenny Sanchez, who now serves as executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild of Illinois, said that as a victim of a false accusation himself, he hopes to see this ordinance cross the finish line.
“I picked up a passenger. Everything's pleasant, ride is proceeding, and I hear a canned beverage open,” Sanchez recalled. “I looked in my rearview mirror, and the gentleman is drinking a beer and … I'm like, ‘Hey buddy, you can't have a beer while I'm driving.’”
Sanchez said after the ride concluded without other incident, Uber called him to inform him his passenger accused him of fleeing the scene of an accident. Though Sanchez protested and offered immediate evidence that his vehicle was undamaged to prove he had not been involved in a crash, Uber told him he would be deactivated until an insurance process could be completed.
“In the meantime, I lost several days of potential work,” Sanchez said. “I had recourse because of this insurance process that I had to go through, but if I would have been accused of driving under the influence or anything else, the algorithm [would have] automatically deactivated, and there is no way for us to appeal these deactivations.”
Sanchez said the current setup allows “bad actors” to avoid paying for rides or food delivery simply by lying about a driver’s actions.
“People are taking advantage of this system so that they can get a free ride or a free meal and then those actions end up resulting in us losing our jobs, and it's devastating,” Sanchez said. “I've personally met hundreds of drivers that have been deactivated unfairly because of false claims, and there's tens of thousands of workers in the Chicagoland area that have been unfairly deactivated from these apps.”
That’s why he’s advocating for the proposed ordinance to be enacted.
“This is something that is ready and very easy for the City Council to pass, and it just makes a lot of common sense,” Sanchez said.