Uber, DoL to Fight in Court Over Discrimination Claims

Following a formal complaint filed by the United States Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor is launching a lawsuit against Uber. They are alleging the company has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against people with disabilities, according to the International Business Times.

[Read this, at International Business Times]

The lawsuit filed by the DoL seeks to bar Uber from continuing the discriminatory practices it has long maintained. The Disability Act prohibits companies from discriminating against people with disabilities, and having more than 30 employees with a disability.

Though Uber has always had access for people with disabilities, the DOT had found that the San Francisco-based transportation startup has violated the law by not meeting the requirements of the ADA.

The DOT’s complaint alleges Uber hired a “disability coordinator”, who identified people with disabilities and offered “self-services” for them to avoid a mandatory telephonic interview by employees with disabilities.

[Read this, at AppleInsider]

Federal law says employers can provide transport services, specifically in the case of taxi dispatch, but has made certain stipulations concerning access to those services for people with disabilities.

The DoL’s complaint claims Uber is allowing the disability coordinator to lead the self-service self-assessment process for people with disabilities. Under current ADA requirements, employers are supposed to comply with telephonic interviews for people with disabilities who would like to use ride-hailing services such as Uber.

The complaint cites a complaint from one employee of a company named Verttera Enterprise. In the complaint, Verttera warned that the ride-hailing firm was not providing equal access to service for its employees with disabilities. “There has been an ongoing and well-documented shortage of accessible vehicles in Chicago and Chicago is a municipality that has less on-street parking than any other city in the nation,” the complaint states.

The DoL’s complaint argues that Uber should do more to ensure drivers are fully aware of the ADA requirements.

[Read this, at Techcrunch]

After internal investigations conducted by Uber in 2015 and 2016, the startup has since changed the design of its app so that it will direct people with disabilities to self-service assistance if they require ride-hailing. The filing alleges Uber has failed to enhance its automated services or hires additional driver staffers with disabilities.

“Uber has this right – including the right to increase driver staffing and expand their transportation services,” the DoL stated. “Uber cannot maintain its position on rights without addressing fundamental legal obligations.

“Those obligations include complying with the ADA and providing self-service options to persons with disabilities who want rides.”

The case will now be heard in front of a federal court, and will determine whether Uber is in compliance with the ADA. The DoL is seeking a court order to ensure Uber complies with the ADA by educating its drivers and employees.

[Read this, at Recode]

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