Uber was ordered to pay $ 1.1 million to a blind female passenger after an independent arbitrator ruled that the company’s drivers discriminated against her after refusing to ride on 14 separate occasions.
San Francisco Bay Area resident Lisa Irving filed the lawsuit against Uber in 2018 after “either she was denied a ride entirely or harassed by Uber drivers who did not want to transport her with her guide dog,” in the one she trusts.
Irving alleged that drivers stranded her overnight and made her late for work, which may have contributed to her being fired.
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Irving’s attorneys said their client suffered verbal abuse and intimidation, which did not stop after she filed her complaints with Uber.
“Of all the Americans who should be freed by the carpool revolution, the blind and visually impaired are among those who will benefit the most,” Catherine Cabalo, one of Irving’s lawyers, told the BBC in a statement. . of the major ride-sharing services has been spotty at best and outright discriminatory at worst. “
“The bottom line is that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog should be able to go anywhere a blind person can go,” he added.
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Uber rejected Irving’s claims, insisting that its divers are expected to “serve passengers with service animals and comply with accessibility,” but the referee concluded that was not the case.
The investigation suggested that drivers were instructed to deny trips that would circumvent the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The arbitrator ruled that Uber was liable for the ADA violations due to its “contractual oversight of its drivers and for failing to avoid discrimination by properly training its drivers.”
The ADA prohibits companies from denying the transportation of a person with a guide dog.
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Uber strongly disagreed with the ruling, saying its team examined each complaint and took appropriate action.