A US Army vet fired by an Amazon robot has warned: "It's you against the machine."
Stephen Normandin, 63, said he gave his package delivery driver job "110%" for nearly four years until he was fired by an automated email.
Algorithms tracking him said he wasn't doing his contract job in Phoenix, Arizona properly, Bloomberg reported.
He said Amazon punished him for things beyond his control that prevented him from completing his deliveries – such as locked apartment complexes.
Stephen added being sacked hit him hard as he had always taken pride in his strong work ethic.
Recalling that during his military career he helped cook for 250,000 Vietnamese refugees at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, he said: “I’m an old-school kind of guy, and I give every job 110%.
“This really upset me because we're talking about my reputation. They say I didn’t do the job when I know damn well I did.”
At Amazon, machines are often the boss – reportedly hiring, rating and firing millions of people with little or no human oversight.
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The world's largest online retailer started its gig-style Flex delivery service in 2015, bringing in an army of delivery drivers.
Flex drivers generally handle packages that haven’t been loaded on an Amazon van before the driver leaves – ensuring packages are delivered the same day.
They also handle same-day grocery deliveries from Amazon’s Whole Foods Market chain for about $25 an hour.
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And from the moment they sign on, algorithms monitor their every move with little human feedback – and rating them with Fantastic, Great, Fair or At Risk.
Bloomberg reported that the algorithms look at: Did they get to the delivery station when they said they would? Did they complete their route in the prescribed window? Did they leave a package in full view of porch pirates instead of hidden behind a planter as requested?
In a statement, Amazon spokeswoman Kate Kudrna called drivers’ claims of poor treatment and unfair termination anecdotal and said they don’t represent the experience of the vast majority of Flex drivers.
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“We have invested heavily in technology and resources to provide drivers visibility into their standing and eligibility to continue delivering, and investigate all driver appeals,” she said.
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