Back in September of 2014, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) filed a lawsuit against the rideshare company Uber. It claimed that Uber drivers were refusing rides to people with service animals, which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, Uber claimed that it wasn’t subject to the ADA. Who was right? It took two years to figure it out.
Did Uber Drivers Really Refuse to Pick Up Riders with Service Dogs?
The NFB filed a lawsuit against Uber after it received word of the terrible treatment people with service animals were receiving. One victim alleged that she had been denied a ride 12 times by several UberX drivers. Another victim claimed her service dog had been locked in the trunk without her knowledge. When she requested the driver stop the car so she could let the dog out of the trunk, she was refused.
The reports only got worse as some victims claimed harassment while others reported being yelled at. Worse yet, some individuals were even charged cancellation fees after they had been refused rides. Uber tried to have the lawsuit dismissed by claiming it’s services were not a public accommodation—which would free the company from ADA regulations. However, the judge wasn’t buying that excuse.
After almost two years of arguing the case, Uber finally came up with a settlement. The company will send e-mail and texts to its drivers to remind them of their obligation to give rides to clients with service animals. Uber also agreed to submit to NFB tests to make sure its drivers are following ADA regulations. As a final measure to the settlement, Uber will pay $2.38 million in attorneys’ fees and plaintiffs’ legal fees.
Do you think this settlement will help make Uber more friendly to people with disabilities? Are there other accessibility issues that Uber needs to address? Tell your Tulsa disability attorneys what you think on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to keep up with our blog for new developments too.