York cycle courier’s job is saved – by a whisker

Photograph: Raysonho on Wikipedia
22 Nov 2020 @ 3.37 pm
| News

A York cycle courier who looked set to lose his livelihood after he chose to shave off his beard has been reinstated.

YorkMix reported on Friday (20 November) that Cristian Santabarbara was locked out of his Uber Eats account over his modified appearance.

He was asked to post a real-time selfie so that the app could verify it was really him carrying out the deliveries.

But it rejected Cristian as an impostor – because he was clean shaven, compared to the bearded image in his profile picture.

That meant his account was set to be automatically terminated, and his main source of income with it.

And however much Cristian tried to appeal, the software algorithms turned him down.

Inspired by support

Now you see him… now you still see him! Cristian Santabarbara with and without beard

However after the intervention by YorkMix, Cristian managed to get through to a human being who escalated the issue to ‘specialised teams’.

And they verified that both the bearded and clean shaven Cristian were the same man.

It means he has been reinstated and been able to carry out some Uber Eats deliveries this weekend.

Cristian thanked everyone for their support. “The solidarity and unity expressed over this insane termination has been truly inspiring,” he said.

“To everyone that supported me I thank you kindly, your support is the reason Uber backed off.”

But said he was lucky to escape the system with his job intact. And he called for people to urge MPs to back an Early Day Motion (EDM) condemning this sort of ‘dismissal by app’.

“My case is the exception as opposed to the rule,” he said. “I’m told another courier got terminated for shaving their face too.

“These insane terminations will keep occurring and it’s absolutely critical for us as key workers that the public and couriers alike write to their MPs, urging them to support the EDM to ensure in future, due process is in place and that couriers have a chance to appeal.”