Miami-Dade Police are seen in cell phone footage ticketing an Uber driver $250 for not being able to speak English well enough.
Uber driver Carmen Echevarria says she feels “discriminated against” after Telemundo 51, an NBC affiliate station, obtained video of her receiving the ticket from an officer outside of Miami International Airport on Monday. The English fluency fine was issued as part of a May 2016 Miami-Dade County memorandum rule that requires transportation network drivers be “able to communicate in the English language.”
The video shows the interaction between Spanish-speaking Echevarria and the officer in which she claims she was issued the citation for not speaking proper English.
“I felt discriminated against,” Echevarria told Telemundo 51. “I asked the (passenger sitting in her car) ‘Can you please help translate what she is saying?’ Then she asked why, if I was an Uber driver, I didn’t speak English.”
“I told her ‘so sorry, a little English’ then she called the inspector who also confronted me and told me in order to be an Uber driver I need it to speak English,” she added.
It was unclear from the video or local reports why Echevarria and her passenger were initially pulled over.
Miami’s Muddled Laws On Driver Language
Although Uber’s website makes no mention of language requirements for drivers in Miami, company spokesman Javi Correoso sent out a statement after the incident asking all drivers in Florida to follow all applicable local laws and regulations until statewide regulations for ride-sharing companies go into effect on July 1. Gov. Rick Scott signed CS/HB 221 into law last month, which will override rules such as the English requirement ordinance in Miami-Dade County.
Correoso said that the memorandum rule for the county is “very vague and difficult to enforce.”
He added that all official paperwork given to driver partners for Uber is in English…