Amazon’s ‘most productive’ delivery-persons of colour face poor customer feedback due to racial bias: Report

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Racial bias is suspected to be the reason behind poor customer feedback for Black, Hispanic, Asian and Latino Amazon delivery executives, Amazon delivery contractors were quoted as saying by Bloomberg. 

The feedback given by an Amazon customer is used, partly to determine how much to pay the driver’s employer and whether they keep their job.

The Amazon delivery contractors say their employees of color get worse customer feedback than their White counterparts. The phenomenon has been reportedly affecting some of their most productive employees.

Amazon has not taken any steps to address racial bias: Delivery contractors 

The delivery contractors quoted by Bloomberg say they have raised their concerns to multiple Amazon managers. It is not that the issue has not been recognised. But there has been no initiative as yet by the company to address the issue.

The topic has also been discussed on Ignite, an online forum Amazon set up for delivery contractors to swap advice and discuss challenges. Amazon personnel monitor the forum and sometimes participate but have never engaged in the conversations about possible racial bias, according to the contractors. Nor has the company taken steps to address the issue, they said.

The Bloomberg report adds that they found eight current and former Amazon delivery contractors operating in Los Angeles, Seattle, Georgia, Northern California and the Northeast describing the same patter of racial bias. 

The pattern involved lower ratings for drivers of color, especially when deployed to neighbourhoods where their race or ethnicity stands out. 

“To give your customer that much power over the delivery process itself, you’re assuming that customer is coming from a good-natured position,” an Amazon contractor in Northern California, was anonymously quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “That’s the flaw.”

Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti did not deny that racial bias is affecting driver customer reviews but said the company has not ignored the issue. “We take any such concerns seriously and investigate every credible complaint—reviewing all available information, then taking appropriate action based on the facts available to us,” Boschetti was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. 

Boschetti reportedly said that Amazon stops delivering packages to customers who abuse or may pose a threat to drivers. 

ALSO WATCH | Amazon faces five new lawsuits on Gender and Racial Bias

A Black driver who has been reportedly delivering Amazon packages for three years in Atlanta said racism is a constant concern among drivers, especially in predominantly White, gated communities.

“Amazon knows what’s going on,” the driver said anonymously. “It works out in Amazon’s favor if we get more negative feedback than positive because they can use that to deprive us of bonus payments and raises.”

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