An arbitrator ruled that Uber’s drivers didn’t prevent discrimination.
Uber, a rideshare company, is responsible if its drivers are negligent while driving. But is Uber responsible if its drivers deny rides for a blind woman?
Uber Drivers are Independent Contractors
The arbitrator believes that Uber is responsible for its drivers, even though they are independent contractors.
And this case about a blind woman who was denied rides on 14 occasions, Uber must pay the passenger $1.1 million.
Business Insider reported that the arbitrator didn’t accept Uber’s argument that it wasn’t responsible for discrimination by its drivers. The ride-sharing company objected to the ruling.
Uber to Pay Lisa Irving
Lisa Irving is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s legally blind and she relies on her guide dog to help her get around.
She filed a complaint against Uber in 2016 after Uber drivers denied her a ride or harassed her by not transporting her with her dog.
Because Uber drivers denied her rides, she was left stranded late at night. She was also fired because she was late to work. And on two occasions, Uber drivers abused and intimidated her verbally.
The discrimination didn’t stop even after filing a complaint to Uber.
Lisa’s attorney said that the blind and visually impaired people should benefit the most in the rideshare revolution. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened to Lisa Irving.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a blind person can use a guide dog. The dog could go where the blind person goes. And if the blind person rides a cab, the dog can go with him/her.
The law states that it’s illegal for transportation businesses to refuse to transport people with guide dogs.
Unfortunately, the ride-sharing company won’t accept the responsibility. Instead, it shifts it to its drivers.
The company argued that it wasn’t responsible for any ADA violations since its drivers are just its contractors.
However, this strategy of Uber allowed the company to avoid any legal liability.
The company also avoided paying its drivers any health insurance, unemployment insurance, and sick pay.
In recent years, the ride-sharing company has been a popular way to get from one place to another. It’s not like a taxi service.
Uber services involve private drivers. They drive their own vehicles.
Critics said that Uber and other ride-sharing companies lack regulation and license. They are also poorly trained and they don’t offer insurance coverage. And it’s one reason Berlin banned Uber.
When riding an Uber, safety is a major concern. It doesn’t guarantee the quality and safety of third-party providers.
If something happens to you, Uber will wash its hands and blame it on the driver. Uber will always state that Uber drivers aren’t employees. Rather, they are just independent contractors.
Although Uber can take you from one place to another conveniently, it won’t guarantee your safety. And if you’re a blind person, Uber drivers can deny you a ride. And Uber won’t take the blame.
But in this case, Uber will have to pay $1.1 million to the blind passenger who was denied rides on several occasions. It failed to prevent discrimination.