Military vet lost UberEats job ‘after transphobic customers complained about her’

Josh Milton
·3-min read

An UberEats driver and military veteran lost her job in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic after customers complained about her being trans.

North Carolina resident Rebecca, who has been driving for the food delivery service since May 2020, told ABC11 that UberEats had been a lifeline for her in the last year.

But two customers, she explained, filed complaints about her – she’s not “who she claims to be”, they said – causing her to lose her job.

While her account has since been reactivated after the broadcaster reached out to Uber, Rebecca stressed that what happened to her captures how companies still have ways to go to better protect trans staffers.

“It’s crazy that with all the changes we’ve seen the whole country go through, that this is the new thing,” she said.

“[Uber] claim inclusivity and they claim to protect you in cases like this,” Rebecca added, “but I don’t I don’t believe they will.

“I believe it’s all about the bottom dollar.”

Trans UberEats driver: ‘If you’re treated unjustly, speak up’

Rebecca’s time with UberEats was a smooth ride at first, she said. But a customer complaint in August threw her only financial income into jeopardy.

She was left on the phone to UberEats administrators for hours after a user emailed about her being trans.

“I believe there’s some people out there who don’t understand, and not understanding something, sometimes they take it out emotionally in the form of push away, lash out, try to be hurtful,” she said of the customer.

Uber later pressed Rebecca about the complaint, writing in an account notice that “someone has been using your account to complete deliveries” while mounting a review into her account.

“After a lengthy conversation, they understood that I was trans and why someone might vindictively report me and said it would never happen again,” she said.

Yet, following a recent delivery, another user complained – prompting a more severe reprimand from Uber Support. “Permanently deactivating” her account, the department said she was “no longer eligible” to be employed by Uber.

“Our decision is final,” the email concluded.

Left without a path to repeal the decision, Rebecca reached out to Uber through Twitter. But in an about-turn, the tech company now claimed that her account had been pulled for “safety concerns”.

“You never sent anything of a safety concern,” she wrote in a reply according to a screenshot, “only claiming someone said it wasn’t me.”

“Now your story has changed so it sounds like you are trying to hide the fact you discriminated against me for being transgender.”

After Rebecca contacted ABC11 about what had happened, Uber rowed back and re-activated her account.

The ride-hailing app stressed in a statement to ABC11 that Uber has a “specialised support team” and an “internal task force” for trans riders and drivers.

“If you’re treated unjustly, speak up,” Rebecca said. “You can’t affect change if you don’t speak up.”