DLP Insights

Riders: programmed algorithm discrimination

Categories: DLP Insights, Case Law | Tag: Riders

27 Jan 2021

The Court of Bologna, by order of 31 December 2020, upheld the appeal brought by three trade unions confederated to CGIL (Filt, Filcams and Nidl) against the company Deliveroo, describing the access conditions to the digital platform as discriminatory.

According to the Court, the work slots booking system penalised those absent from work, without considering the reasons for their absence. According to the algorithm adopted by the company, the score of each delivery rider was reduced when they (i) did not log in to the platform 15 minutes before the start of the session and went to the work area, or (ii) cancelled the booking session with less than 24 hours’ notice. The system gave priority in the choice of shifts to the most deserving delivery riders (i.e. those with a higher reputation ranking).

According to the judge, the programmed algorithm was completely indifferent to the real needs of delivery riders, and ended up indiscriminately penalising those who had decided, for example, to join a strike or were forced to take time off for illness, disability or to care for a sick or disabled child.

It is based on these assumptions that the Court of Bologna ordered the delivery company to (i) remove the effects of discriminatory conduct, (ii) publish the order on its website and an extract in a national newspaper and (iii) pay € 50,000 to trade unions, for damages because the adopted booking system discouraged workers from collective abstention from work, weakening the trade union action effectiveness.

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