Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
COMPANY CULTURE / NOV. 06, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Uber Fires and Rehires Driver Over Retweet

Uber Taxi

Social Media can sometimes be detrimental to your profession or job. One Uber driver recently experienced this firsthand.

Christopher Ortiz, 33, worked for the company from May to June and then took a lengthy hiatus to concentrate on his own media business.

In August, Ortiz decided to retweet an article written about Uber by PandoDaily. 

The article,

“With another Uber driver robbed in LA, questions mount about safety of ride-sharing apps,”

sheds light on how driving with Uber could be just as risky as driving for any other cab or taxi company.

This retweet evidently offended the Uber management because when Ortiz went to schedule new working hours earlier this month, he received an email from Uber’s Operation Manager explaining why his account was deactivated. 

According to the car-sharing company, Ortiz’s retweet promoted “hateful statements.”

Ortiz says that the company’s actions were completely out of line, especially considering the fact that he always tweets about Uber.

“It was very heavy handed,” he said. “I have mentioned Uber dozens of times in tweets since I last drove for the company – tweeting negative and positive stories. I have several friends who drive and I like sharing stories about Uber with them.” 

As soon as Ortiz decided to share a screenshot of the email on Twitter, it went viral. BuzzFeed and Forbes immediately conducted a report on the whole ordeal. 

Uber’s response from all the publicity was to retract its decision against Ortiz and reactivate his driver’s account. 

Ortiz decided to screenshot that email message as well and tweet it for all to see.

He believes that Uber started accessing his tweets following numerous exchanges and interaction with the @Uber_ABQ twitter account.

The oddest part about the situation, however, is that Uber only hires drivers who agree to their nonemployed working standards.  Therefore, all the drivers are self-employed independent contractors.

Yet, Uber treated Ortiz as if he was an employee who broke some sort of company guideline.

Ortiz asserts that Uber had no legitimate reason to terminate a self-employed driver’s profile—especially if they’ve done nothing wrong.

Unfortunately, the tweet placed Uber in a negative light as far as how they handle termination decision-making.   

This situation proves how fast controversial incidents can be shared on social media. 

As stated by The National Law Review,

“…any employment decisions they make, and particularly those they may e-mail to their employees, potentially could be broadcast publicly and be subject to the court of public opinion through various forms of social media.”

Employers are advised to be more cautious about why and how they choose to terminate their employees because in a blink of an eye, they could become the object of brutal online scrutiny. 

Ortiz hasn’t decided if he will return as a driver for the company. 

At this point, he feels that Uber is a dubious company for anyone to work for as a full-time contract driver.

“It would be a scary situation if I was depending on Uber as my primary source of income”, Ortiz said.

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