Over one-third of gig workers say they have felt unsafe on the job, and nearly one-fifth have experienced sexual harassment

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Over one-third of gig workers say they have felt unsafe on the job, and nearly one-fifth have experienced sexual harassment
© Carsten Koall/picture alliance via Getty Images Uber Eats rider in Berlin Carsten Koall/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • 35% of gig workers say they have felt unsafe while on the job, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center.
  • The survey of over 11,000 workers found one-third had been treated rudely, while 19% had been sexually harassed.
  • Over half of the workers expressed concern over COVID-19 risks on the job.

About one out of every three gig workers has felt unsafe while on the job, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.

The survey of over 11,000 gig workers found that the workers have faced a number of difficulties this year, from dealing with rude customers to sexual harassment and COVID-19 safety concerns. As demand for gig services like DoorDash, Instacart, and Uber continues to surge during the pandemic, the workers have been forced to reckon with crime sprees, unruly customers, and dangerous weather conditions.

Earlier this year, NBC reported a rash of carjacking and incidents of theft against gig drivers. The publication spoke with 15 gig workers who said that they often feared for their safety as violence spiked during the pandemic. In January, a female Uber Eats driver was killed.

Similarly, an incident of alleged aggression against an Uber driver captured public attention in March when a video of the driver appearing to get verbally and physically harassed by two women went viral online. Much like retail workers, 37% of gig workers are facing rude and impatient customers, according to Pew Research data. In October, Insider’s Mary Hanbury reported that an uptick in rude customers has helped fuel the national labor shortage.

Pew Research found that non-white workers were more likely to feel unsafe or that they had been treated rudely — a statistic consistent with data on racial discrimination in the workplace. Though, female and younger workers between the ages of 18 and 29-years-old were more likely to experience unwanted sexual advances.

What’s more, about half of surveyed workers expressed concern about becoming infected with the coronavirus while on the job. At the onset of the pandemic, Instacart workers went on strike over COVID-19 concerns, until the company addressed their demands for hazard pay and safety items like hand sanitizer. Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported Uber was facing a shortage of drivers due to COVID-19 concerns.

Despite workers’ health and safety concerns, by and large the report found that gig workers view their jobs from a positive perspective. While debates around how gig services, like ride-sharing, treat workers have been heating up in the US government, 62% of workers view they have been appropriately characterized as independent contractors, according to Pew Research.

And over half of the workers think they need more legal safeguards in their contracts, but do not support changes in government regulation to the services.

Read more from Pew Research’s full report.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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