From Selfies to Stomachs: Uber Eats Driver Wins Fight Against Racially Discriminatory Facial Recognition Technology

Uber Eats driver receives compensation in discrimination lawsuit

Uber Eats driver, Pa Edrissa Manjang, has received a payout after facing “racially discriminatory” facial-recognition checks that prevented him from accessing the app and securing work. Initially, when he started working for Uber Eats in November 2019, the app did not regularly require him to send selfies for job registration. However, the Microsoft-powered Uber Eats app increased verification checks, leading to his account removal in 2021 due to “continued mismatches.”

Speaking on the issue, an Uber representative explained that the real-time ID check is aimed at ensuring safety for all users of the app, with human oversight to prevent unjust decisions impacting someone’s livelihood. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the App Drivers and Couriers Union supported Mr. Manjang’s case, expressing concerns that the facial-recognition AI had unfairly affected his income. The ADCU highlighted that the number of selfie requests amounted to racial harassment.

Mr. Manjang was eventually reinstated and is still working for Uber Eats in Oxfordshire, emphasizing the importance of his case shedding light on the challenges of AI, especially for low-wage gig economy workers. He hoped that his experience would further strengthen the rights and protections of workers, particularly those from ethnic minorities. Baroness Falkner, chair of the EHRC, criticized the opaque processes that Mr. Manjang had to navigate and emphasized the need for clearer routes to challenge such technology.

Previous cases involving ethnicity bias in technology have raised concerns about its impact on individuals’ rights and wellbeing. The case of Mr. Manjang brings attention to

Sophia Reynolds

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