Amazon Allegedly Uses its Algorithm to Fire Contractual Flex Delivery Employees, Says Report
(Photo : Bryan Angelo from Unsplash)

Amazon might be using its algorithm to hire and fire its contractual flex delivery drivers, according to a recent report.

The process involves minimal human intervention, which means that drivers often have no other way to ask for help.

Amazon Allegedly Uses its Algorithm to Fire Contractual Flex Delivery Employees, Says Report
(Photo : Bryan Angelo from Unsplash)

Amazon Contractual Flex Delivery Drivers

Amazon's contractual Flex delivery drivers are already given the task to deal with endless indignities throughout their shifts, but another hurdle is waiting for them.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon may now hire and fire various delivery drivers using its specialized algorithms.

Amazon is known for offering same-day and other delivery options, and the company ensures this by employing millions of subcontracted Flex delivery drivers.

The partnership was stated in 2015, and millions of drivers have already served the company.

Typically, contractual Flex delivery drivers sign up using a smartphone application to start choosing shifts, coordinate their deliveries, and report their delivery problems.

How Does the Algorithm Affect Amazon Driver?

Amazon's reliance on technology has grown quite heavily over the last few years as AI systems continue to develop.

The company also relies on technology to monitor the performance of contractual Flex delivery drivers. As a result, they could be fired by the algorithms without any intervention from other humans within the company.

Engadget mentioned that Amazon's system might also fire delivery drivers without any valid reasons.

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Amazon's Algorithm vs. Flex Delivery Drivers

A previous worker stated that her rating, which ranges from Fantastic, Great, Fair, or At-Risk fell after being forced to stop deliveries.

Over the next few weeks of her shift, she boosted it up to Great, but the algorithm automatically terminated her account for violating the company's terms of services.

The halt was due to a nail found in her tire, which means that it was an emergency and that it was not a valid reason to get fired for. Despite her appeal, Amazon still did not reinstate her.

Another driver had a similar experience where the algorithm terminated him.

He could not deliver the packages to a specific apartment complex because the gate was closed shut, and it was locked. The residents did not answer their phones, so he had no other choice but to postpone the delivery.

His ratings dropped, and he spent a total of six weeks raising it. However, the algorithm terminated him for not meeting the prescribed level.

What Does Amazon Have to Say?

According to Amazon, most claims of unfair termination and poor treatment were anecdotal - they do not reflect the experience of most Flex drivers.

Spokesperson Kate Kudrna mentioned that Amazon has invested in technology and resources to openly let drivers know their standing and eligibility as Amazon drivers.

Amazon believes that its program is a huge success and that it only analyzes the numbers. Approximately 4 million drivers already downloaded the app worldwide, and 2.9 million are located in the U.S.

Over 660,000 users in the U.S. downloaded the app over the last five months, which means that Amazon would not be taking down the app any time soon.

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Written by Fran Sanders

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