Deliveroo Italy algorithm discriminates against reliable riders

Occurred: January 2021

A court in Bologna, Italy, ruled that a Deliveroo algorithm used to assess the reliability of its riders is discriminatory.

In a case bought by a group of Deliveroo riders and backed by CGIL, Italy’s largest trade union, the court ruled (pdf) that the 'secretive' 'Frank' algorithm used by the food delivery company to assess the reliability of its riders violated local labour laws by failing to distinguish between legally legitimate reasons riders may not be working, such as illness or serious emergency, and more mundane reasons.

The system had been thereby unjustly penalising riders with legitimate reasons for not working. 

Deliveroo, which says it no longer uses the algorithm, has been ordered to pay EUR 50,000 to every affected rider. It had previously claimed the algorithm cut delivery times by 20 percent.

In April 2021, Deliveroo riders across the UK striked against the company's poor pay, safety and workers' rights record.

System 🤖

Operator: Deliveroo

Developer: Deliveroo
Country: Italy

Sector: Transport/logistics

Purpose: Determine rider reliability

Technology: Workforce management system

Issue: Bias/discrimination - productivity; Fairness; Employment - pay
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: January 2021
Last updated: December 2021