An Uber driver was forced to pay $250 as fine for not speaking English. Over at Miami Dade County, there exists a memorandum that requires anyone who picks up people at the airport to be proficient in the English language. This particular Spanish-speaking driver for the ride-sharing service was cited for violating that rule.
Carmen Echavarria was at the Miami International Airport Sunday morning to drop off her passenger when an airport personnel asked her to move her car. The Uber driver had some difficulty understanding what was being asked of her. Echavarria asked her passenger to help translate what the security agent was saying but she apparently sided with the airport worker and asked her why she didn't speak English if she was an Uber driver.
During the exchange, the airport employee then told her, "I don't know what you're doing working for Uber if you do not understand English." Afterward, a landside inspector approached her to inform her of her violation and to levy the fine.
Echavarria managed to record the conversation with the inspector on her smartphone. She can be heard asking, "isn't that called discrimination?" before the inspector answered her that she can go to court to dispute the violation.
Miami-Dade County issued the memorandum a year ago, as reported by the New York Post. County official Karla Damian explained that the code required the driver of a ride-sharing app to "have some knowledge of the English language to communicate with a passenger." Damian also stressed that such knowledge will be useful in case of an emergency aside from understanding basic instructions from passengers.
A spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that the officer should have issued a warning first before the citation, according to FOX News. Uber contacted the city to complain about the incident after which the city reversed the fine.
Echavarria said she had been making a living as an Uber driver for the past couple of years yet she never had any problems with regards to her lack of ability to speak English. The Miami-Dade County spokesperson said that Echavarria seems capable of communicating in English which makes it unfortunate that the fine was issued.