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Why Uber's app doesn't have a tipping function

Uber published a blog post Thursday morning that intended to clarify its tipping policy, but is instead drawing more controversy.

Last week Uber proposed a $100 million settlement for a class action lawsuit over whether or not drivers were classified as employees. As part of the proposal, drivers are able to accept tips, even though there isn't a function that enables that on the app.

Uber cited two main reasons for why tipping isn't included on its app. First, the company says that the correlation between tipping and service quality isn't perfect,and that it can be influenced by personal bias. Uber cited studies that found discrimination bias affects the amount customers are willing to offer as gratuity.

Secondly, the company suggests that a tipping function could lead Uber drivers to "spend more time where tips are likely to be highest — typically the wealthiest neighborhoods."

There are other reasons Uber mentions, including keeping the app hassle-free and fares transparent.

"When we started Uber six years ago, we thought long and hard about whether to build a tipping option into the app," the company wrote in its blog post.

"In the end, we decided against including one because we felt it would be better for riders and drivers to know for sure what they would pay or earn on each trip — without the uncertainty of tipping," it wrote.

Michael Sturman, co-author of a 2008 Cornell study Uber cited, told the Boston Globe that tipping is flawed in practice because "companies often use tips as a way of passing compensation costs on to the consumer."

Sturman added: "The problem is that you don't have any control over whether violations of [antidiscrimination laws] are occurring. So there's a lot of discomfort for companies to say they're going to use a pay system that we know depends on race and gender, which is illegal," he said to the Globe.

Uber declined to provide comment beyond its blog post.

Read Uber's full blog post on Medium.