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WA man's damages claim against Uber fails

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016

A Perth man who complained Uber unfairly deactivated his driver account has lost a $500,000 damages claim against the global ride-sharing service.

Nigerian-born father-of-two Mike Oze-Igiehon, 40, maintained a high rating with the service, which allowed him to earn up to $3000 a month on top of his full time wage.

While working as a driver brought his monthly pay up to $10,000, he sometimes worked up to 16 hours a day and was booted out after just seven months based on a few passenger complaints.

They were serious allegations - that he drove dangerously as he looked tired and even appeared to fall asleep while driving passengers to their destinations - which Mr Oze-Igiehon rejected.

The former journalist argued Uber fired him suddenly without offering him any training or counselling in relation to his work, which denied him procedural fairness.

Mr Oze-Igiehon, who represented himself, said he was left laden with car loans and insurance debts, having invested all he had into the work, which had dented his credit rating.

He also argued he was the victim of xenophobia, but provided no evidence.

Uber said the contract was lawfully terminated because the critical safety issues seriously breached the terms and conditions of the agreement, and it was entitled to do so on seven days' notice.

District Court of Western Australia Judge Julie Wager agreed, dismissing the claim on Friday.

While it had been open to Uber to offer training to Mr Oze-Igiehon, he also could have contacted the company to make further inquiries about the nature of the initial complaint.

"Uber acted reasonably," she said.

"Uber did not have to prove that each complaint received was truthful and accurate.

"Uber assessed that the receipt of a further complaint from a different user passenger relating to a different time period about the same issue enabled Uber to exercise its discretion after reasonable consideration and deactivate the account."

Uber's lawyer said Mr Oze-Igiehon had indicated he would likely appeal.

Uber spokesman Mike Scott said the company welcomed the dismissal of the claims.

"Uber never takes the decision to remove a driver-partner's access to the app lightly, and our concern in this case was always for the safety of riders and the broader travelling public," Mr Scott said.

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