Exploring the Undercurrents of the Gig Economy: Uncovering the Dark Side of Flexible Work Arrangements and Its Impact on Workers’ Well-being

Critical Overview:

According to a new report by Gig Workers Rising, companies like Lyft and Uber are offering minimal assistance to the families of their employees who have been murdered on the job. The report estimates that approximately 50 gig workers have been murdered or allegedly murdered on the job in the US between 2017 and February 2022, with nearly two-thirds of the victims being people of color. The report also found that nearly 70% of the victims were drivers for Uber and Lyft, and several others were delivery drivers for services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. The report indicates that these companies do not offer sufficient support, including survivor benefits or funeral expenses, to the families of victims.

The Case of Isabella Lewis:

The case of Isabella Lewis highlights the issue of the lack of support offered by Lyft to the families of its murdered workers. Isabella was a Lyft driver who was shot and killed by her passenger Imran Ali Rasheed in August 2021. Isabella was insured through a policy that Lyft held with Liberty Mutual, which covered damages to the car and injuries to third parties but not drivers. It did not include survivor benefits or funeral expenses. Although Lyft expressed condolences to Isabella’s family, the family received no compensation from the company. To pay for a proper funeral, Bella’s family launched a GoFundMe page, which was supported by their community, donating $8,940.

Under-Reporting of App-Based Driver Homicides:

As nationwide data about app-based driver homicides is not publicly available, GWR assembled its own database using public information, including internet searches, GoFundMe fundraisers, The Markup’s database of ride-hail driver carjackings, and gig company press statements following worker deaths. GWR claims that their figures are likely an undercount. The report includes non-rider-involved killings such as drive-by shootings, which Lyft’s biennial safety report excludes. It also includes “dead head time” or time between rides, which Uber does not necessarily include in its safety report. DoorDash, GrubHub, and Instacart do not release safety reports.

Lack of Compensation for Families:

Of the five families GWR spoke with for the report, all said that they received no compensation from the gig platforms after their loved ones’ deaths. Because such matters are often handled privately, it is difficult to know how many other workers received compensation; however, GoFundMe fundraisers for funeral expenses were a common feature of these cases.

Company Responses:

When asked about the report’s findings, Uber stated that they have programs in place to support families, including with insurance. Uber also invests heavily in new technologies to improve driver safety. Lyft also stated that they are committed to doing everything they can to help protect drivers from crime and will continue to invest in technology, policies, and partnerships to make Lyft as safe as possible. However, these statements do not address the issue of the lack of support for the families of murdered gig workers.


The report by Gig Workers Rising highlights the issue of the lack of support offered by gig economy companies to the families of their murdered workers. The report also indicates that the figures for app-based driver homicides are likely an undercount due to the lack of publicly available data. The families of murdered gig workers receive little to no compensation from these companies, and they are often forced to rely on community support through fundraisers. While Uber and Lyft have stated their commitment to improving driver safety, they must also address the issue of supporting the families of their employees who have been murdered on the job.