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Uber’s rating system may be racially biased

The EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is the agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws. This agency has filed a brief to urge a federal appeals court to take another look at a lawsuit that alleges racial bias in Uber’s driver rating system. It’s important information for anyone ridesharing in Texas.

Driver rating system may be racially biased

Uber Technology Inc uses a system that lets passengers rate their drivers. The lawsuit alleges that this system is racially discriminatory, which is why the EEOC finds it so important to revive this suit.

This “friend-of-the-court” brief backs up an appeal by the Uber driver involved in the case. The driver is Asian-American and claims that the system for rating Uber employees relies too heavily on how passengers evaluate their drivers. The argument is that if a passenger is racially biased, that will likely be reflected in how many stars they rate a non-white driver.

But this originally proposed class action was dismissed by a San Fransisco federal judge. The reason given was that there wasn’t enough statistical evidence to prove that the rating system was a source of workplace discrimination.

A survey of drivers in dispute

The EEOC disagrees, however. The brief this agency filed informed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that there was enough evidence for the case to be sent to trial. Among that evidence includes a survey conducted by the lawyers of the driver. In this survey, Uber drivers were interviewed by the thousands. According to the findings, it’s much more likely for minority groups to be removed from Uber because of low ratings from their passengers.

According to the judge in the case, this survey was inadequate as evidence because it didn’t poll Uber’s overall population of drivers. Rather, it was a survey of others who had been kicked off Uber’s system. With the EEOC’s brief, there is now recognition that a plaintiff doesn’t need conclusive statistics to pursue a discrimination claim.