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‘I Felt Discriminated Against’: Uber Driver Faces Fine For Not Speaking English

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An Uber driver in Florida was recently fined $250 for not being able to speak English, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

Carmen Hechevarría was just dropping off her passengers at Miami International Airport last Sunday when a traffic officer stopped her to engage in conversation.

Hechevarría apparently didn’t understand. Then after a Spanish-speaking officer was brought over to translate, she was issued the citation.

Part of the exchange with one of the officers was caught by Hechevarría on her smartphone, who told the local Telemundo affiliate: “I felt discriminated against.”

Miami law requires all ride-hailing drivers to be able to communicate in English under the terms of a local ordinance passed in May 2016 which allowed Uber, Lyft and other similar companies to legally compete with taxi companies. The Herald notes that local taxi drivers have long been mandated to communicate in English as well.

Uber themselves does not require English proficiency of drivers. The company’s spokesman Javier Correoso, offered some guarded criticism of the episode, saying, “It says they have to communicate in English. It doesn’t say they have to speak English.”

The law has been enforced upwards of 40 times since its enactment, however, it will be a bit of a moot point soon, as a state law is due to supersede the Miami ordinance on July 1.

[image via screengrab]

Follow colinkalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher

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