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Did the US successfully sue Uber for discriminating against people with disabilities?

Uber, the ride-share company that is frequently in the court system for lawsuits, was sued by the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice filed this lawsuit in November 2021 alleging that Uber violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That prohibits discrimination against disabled passengers.

Why was Uber sued?

The lawsuit alleged that Uber in April 2016 started charging passengers wait-time fees in multiple cities before expansion of the policy across the nation. Under the terms of the wait-time fees, they began two minutes after the Uber driver arrived at the pickup location and charged the passenger until the trip began.

Under this lawsuit, the Justices Department alleged that Uber was in violation by failing to “reasonably modify” wait time fee policy for passengers who needed more than two minutes to enter the car due to their disability.

For example, a passenger in a wheelchair or using a walker needs to break those devices down and store them in a car. A blind or hearing-impaired passenger might need additional time to safely walk to the pickup location and the car.

When Uber became aware of the passengers’ need for additional time due to disabilities, the lawsuit alleged that the ride-share company started charging a wait-time fee at two minutes approximately.

What was the final adjudication of the lawsuit?

The Department of Justice filed and won a $2.2 million class-action settlement agreement to resolve the lawsuit.

The agreement stipulated that more than 65,000 Uber user disabilities were charged fees that are discriminatory in nature.

Plus, Uber agreed to waive wait-time fees for all Uber passengers who certify that they or someone they frequently travel with need additional time to get into the car due to disability. Uber is required to ensure that refunds are available to anyone who doesn’t have a waiver and is charged a wait time fee due to disability. Uber will advertise the wait-time fee waiver program and train customer service representatives about the program and the refund process to make sure that people with disabilities aren’t charged illegally.

And Uber was required to credit the accounts of more than 65,000 eligible passengers for double the amount of wait time fees. Uber was required to pay $1.738 million to over 1,000 riders who complained and $500,000 to other individuals impacted.

They were also charged a $50,000 penalty paid to the United States government as a consequence of their actions.

What did the Justice Department say about the lawsuit?

When the lawsuit was settled the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights division issued a statement.

“People with disabilities should not be made to feel like second-class citizens or punished because of their disability, which is exactly what Uber’s wait time fee policy did,” Kristen Clarke said. “This agreement sends a strong message that Uber and other ridesharing companies will be held accountable if their services discriminate against people with disabilities. The Civil Rights Division remains committed to enforcing the ADA and ensuring that people with disabilities can travel free from barriers and indignities.”

And Stephanie M. Hinds, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, weighed in on the legal development.

“Ensuring equal access to transportation for those with disabilities is an important goal of the ADA,” Hinds stated.. “People with disabilities must have access to ridesharing services provided by Uber and similar companies without enduring discriminatory wait time fees. This agreement removes that barrier to equal access for passengers with disabilities and provides a mechanism to compensate those harmed by Uber’s past wait time fee policy.”

Did Uber admit wrongdoing?

They made no admission of guilt in settling the lawsuit.

However, in legal circles, generally that significant a settlement is regarded as a tacit acknowledgement of making a mistake whether it’s intentional or unintentional.

It does display a pattern when factoring in other litigation Uber has be en involved in throughout recent years.

What are your rights in a potential lawsuit?

Every state has a different statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit.

Typically, you have between two to five years to file a lawsuit.

That means the clock is ticking and you need to hire an attorney with the experience to handle ride-share discriminatory practices.

Don’t hesitate. Act now and get the legal expertise you need on your side.

Contact us

At Mokaram Law Firm, our team of highly trained Houston personal injury attorneys is dedicated to providing you with outstanding support and professionalism. Resolving complex legal issues can be difficult, especially in discrimination cases.

We are here to ease your burden and seamlessly guide you through the process. You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today at (281) 609-9224 and find out how we can help ease your anxiety and get the compensation you deserve.

Contact our legal team today! Your peace of mind and safety are our top priorities.

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