Uber drivers in New York City have now been given the ability to appeal deactivation decisions that might have cost them their job. Uber has been known to dispute the notion that their drivers are employees yet reserve the right to ‘deactivate’ them. Drivers can be deactivated for poor ratings, misconduct and so on.

This month, Uber finalized an agreement allowing some 40,000 New York drivers appeal deactivation decisions in front of a panel of other drivers. The agreement comes shortly after the company’s recognition of Independent Driver’s Guild (IDG), a workers’ rights group. IDG does not serve as a union, so drivers cannot use the group to bargain for a pay increase or for benefits. Jim Conigliaro, who is the founder of IDG, told members in an email:

“After months of negotiations, we finally won you the right to a fair deactivation appeal with Uber management.”

The peer panel will consist of five drivers elected by IDG and Uber. The company has explicitly stated that any drivers rated “bad” by commuters will not have the right to appeal. If a driver is deactivated for poor passenger ratings, they may choose to undergo a training course to get their account reactivated.

As of now, the appeals process is only available to the Uber drivers in New York City. The company has not yet stated whether it will expand to other cities across the globe. The deactivation appeal process may seem like a step in the right direction, but it does have limitations. The company states:

“No deactivation decision is taken lightly or without investigation. As such, certain deactivation decisions, especially those related to zero tolerance violations, are not eligible for appeal. For example, we will not accept appeals related to criminal activity while on the app, like theft or reckless driving. Likewise, we will not accept appeals related to physical or sexual altercations.”

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