SF official calls for investigation into DoorDash for taking tips from delivery workers

One San Francisco official is looking to slam the door on DoorDash’s alleged tip theft.

Wednesday evening Supervisor Aaron Peskin, a frequent critic of the local tech industry, verbally asked the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement to investigate DoorDash for potential labor violations.

“They call themselves ‘DoorDash,’ I call them ‘dine and dash,’” Peskin told me Thursday. “They may well be in violation of local labor laws.”

DoorDash did not respond to a request for comment.

The San Francisco-based food delivery startup hauled in a $400 million investment earlier this month amid swirling controversy around its practice of using tips from customers for its workers pay, instead of as a bonus on top of pay, according to Bloomberg News.

DoorDash isn’t the only food delivery service to take a public scorching from its workers, and customers over its use of tips toward its workers base pay. San Francisco-based startup InstaCart also was lambasted for the practice, according to Bloomberg, but announced it would change its tipping policy to address workers’ demands for fairness in early February.

DoorDash, however, maintained its tip-garnishing policy for its “Dashers,” company-parlance for its delivery contractors.

And Peskin isn’t the only San Franciscan up in arms over the practice. On Thursday, an advocacy group called the Tech Workers Coalition organized a small group of canvassers to conduct outreach with DoorDash employees right at their doorstep as they arrived to work.

Joe Rivano Barros was one volunteer handing out flyers that read “WAGE THEFT” next to the DoorDash logo, asking for workers to organize on behalf of vulnerable contractors. “With $1.4B in funding, DoorDash can afford to pay its workers fairly,” the flyer read.

“If you told anyone that the more you tipped the (DoorDash) driver the less the company would have to pay, they would be horrified,” Rivano Barros said.

And in an interesting twist, Rivano Barros said he was in the same Stanford class as Andy Fang and Stanley Tang, the co-founders of DoorDash.

“These people who graduated with me are multi-millionaires now,” Rivano Barros said, and “are skimming wages from people making near-minimum wage in a city that is expensive.”

That’s something Peskin aims to stop.

Peskin said he was prepared to pursue other avenues to protect DoorDash’s gig-workers should the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement not find any existing laws protecting contractors from having their tips taken.

Everything’s on the table, he said: Asking state lawmakers to craft laws to clamp down on DoorDash in California, or even suing the company through the City Attorney’s Office.

“If I have to write a law to get this company to act like adults, I will do that,” Peskin said.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.

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