You've Gotta Be Shitting Me, Uber

Illustration for article titled You've Gotta Be Shitting Me, Uber
Photo: Scott Heins (Getty)

Uber, a company helmed by claybrained dopes, is often in the business of explaining why things aren’t what they are. For instance, if you merely ignore all the taxis it puts on the road, Uber is a technology company. And if you squint hard and run your head gently through a woodchipper, its drivers do look a lot more like contractors than employees.


It’s had a harder time contorting its bizarre bathroom practice, which appears to be more widespread than previously claimed.

Yesterday, a driver by the name of Erika Betts posted a photo to Twitter from the inside of one of the company’s Greenlight hubs—the Providence, Rhode Island, one, to be exact. The photo clearly showed two bathrooms, one marked “employee” and the other marked “partner.” (The company often refers to its non-employee workers, euphemistically, as “driver-partners.”)

Yes, insultingly, Uber seemed to be saying its Portland drivers weren’t good enough to piss in the same space as its full-time employees.

This naturally led many to wonder if this was a widespread policy of segregation among Uber’s many Greenlight hubs (where drivers can go to get in-person support) and other facilities.

“That bathroom was also being used for employee storage, but that’s not an excuse. I don’t believe this is the case anywhere else (and it’s certainly not our design policy) but we’re doing a full review now,” Andrew Macdonald, who holds the unwieldy title of SVP of global rides and platform ops, tweeted yesterday. An Uber spokesperson later confirmed to Gizmodo on background that this signage only existed in the Providence hub and was subsequently taken down. Isolated incident, everyone, nothing to see here.


Well, that was yesterday and this is today.

Motherboard discovered that a Los Angeles Greenlight center made use of port-a-potties similarly labeled to distinguish employee-usable johns from general-use ones. Not only are drivers allegedly prohibited from using the two marked for employees, those two port-a-potties are solar-powered and include features like running water and flush toilets, where the driver-accessible ones are what you normally think of: a big, smelly plastic hole.


“That location is a temporary pop-up Greenlight Hub in a parking lot that isn’t managed by our central facilities team, which is why it was missed in our review,” an Uber spokesperson told Gizmodo via email. “All facilities for drivers and employees, including bathrooms, should be held to the same standards of quality, regardless of whether they are shared. We are sorry for missing this and will address it immediately.”

If you’re an Uber driver or employee who has seen this at your own Greenlight hub, please get in touch via email, Twitter, Keybase, or SecureDrop.


Updated with comment from Uber

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// Keybase: Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/



Back to work peons! Nothing to see here!

(I once worked for a company where you had to ask permission to use the bathroom. I did not work there very long. Like, a week, only because I needed the money. I knew other people who worked for companies where you had specified bathroom breaks and could not go any other time. No it wasn’t Amazon. This was years ago. This shit is more common than apparently most people know.)