SAN FRANCISCO (WRIC) — Uber came to a multi-million dollar settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve a lawsuit that alleged Uber violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Department.
In November 2021, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging discrimination against its customers with disabilities. The discrimination was allegedly a result of Uber’s wait time fees for customers that began in April 2016.
The policy gives Uber users two minutes after the Uber car has arrived at the pickup location to get in the car before they are charged a fee. According to the Department’s complaint, some disabled customers need more than two minutes to get into the car and Uber failed to reasonably modify its policy for these people.
“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, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, 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.”
Under the settlement, Uber will credit the accounts of more than 65,000 eligible riders who signed up for a waiver program for double the amount of wait time fees they were ever charged. This could amount to potentially hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of compensation.
The company will also pay $1,738,500 to more than one thousand customers who complained to Uber about being charged wait time fees because of disability and $500,000 to other harmed people identified by the DOJ.
Uber has committed to waiving wait time fees for all Uber riders who certify that they, or someone they frequently travel with, need more time to get in an Uber car because of a disability. The ride-share company will also ensure that refunds will be easily available for anyone who does not have a waiver and is charged a wait time fee because of a disability.