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San Diego taxi drivers object to odor test

Cabbies in San Diego are calling the smell checks of taxi drivers discriminatory and prejudiced, with some saying the practice is "dehumanizing."

Body odor is tested among cabbies at San Diego International Airport, along with 51 other criteria, The Associated Press reports. If drivers fail the test, they are forced to change clothes before picking up new customers. But the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union says the smell checks promote "a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad," AP reports, because 94 percent of San Diego's cab drivers are immigrants.

"What a dehumanizing way to treat your workers," said Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. AP notes that San Diego's policy is "unusually explicit" compared with those of cities like New York and Chicago. San Diego's practice has been in place for years, but recently gained attention when a union employee found the San Diego Regional Airport Authority's checklist for taxi drivers.