Last week, hire-car firm Uber won our approval for an ill-thought out blogpost which applauded teachers working as drivers in their spare time, and seemed to celebrate the fact that “teachers, in general need a little bit more money”. Now, in another successful PR stunt, it appears they’ve fired a driver for tweeting negatively about the company.
According to Forbes, Christopher Oritz, an UberX driver in Albuquerque, New Mexico, received an email from his local operations manager “permanently deactivating” his account due to “hateful statements regarding Uber through social media”. The email quotes one in particular: “Driving for Uber, not much safer than driving a taxi”. The original tweet also included a link to a piece about the safety of ride-sharing apps . Hateful, indeed.
Equally disturbing is the email’s signoff, “UBER on!”, which sounds like some kind of superhero call-to-arms. Given that the rest of the email’s tone is rather more “UBER off!” we can only assume the former is a generic, company-mandated slogan.
Uber drivers operate as independent contractors, using a driver version of the app passengers used to book taxis, so Uber can deactivate their accounts at will. They’ve also been known to deactive drivers with low star ratings (though Oritz told Forbes his rating was 4.8 out of 5).
Luckily, Oritz hadn’t used the app for two months, so wasn’t relying on it for income. All the more work for Uber’s wonderful, cash-strapped teachers, then.