Amazon Flex delivery drivers fired by algorithm

Occurred: June 2021

Millions of independent contract drivers working for Amazon's Flex delivery service were managed and fired by an algorithm for no good cause and with little or no human intervention. 

According to a Bloomberg report, some dismissals were considered unfair, with riders given only 10 days to appeal their terminations. If their appeal failed, they then had to pay USD 200 for it to go to arbitration. 

To make matters even more challenging, riders were unable to have access to the algorithm and its decision-making processes, persuading many drivers not to lodge appeals.

The programme was reportedly considered a success by Amazon. 

Flex drivers complained in online forums about having their accounts terminated because their selfies failed to 'meet the requirements for the Amazon Flex program', according to Ars Technica.

Operator: Amazon
Developer: Amazon
Country: USA
Sector: Transport/logistics
Purpose: Increase efficiency
Technology: Automated management system; Image recognition
Issue: Fairness; Employment - pay, termination
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals 

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: January 2022