Uber, National Federation For The Blind Reach Settlement Over 2014 Service Animal Lawsuit
May 02, 2016 02:26 AM EDT
Uber and the National Federation for the Blind have agreed with a settlement including the ride-hailing company to educate their drivers over legal obligations to transport their passengers who have guide dogs or service animals.
In a report by CNET, the other terms of the settlement include the company barring any driver from the platform who denies service to passengers with service animal. Uber will also be paying $225,000 over three years to the National Federation for the Blind.
According to SF Gate, one of the examples they have cited is the case of a blind person who has been denied of a ride even when an Uber driver agreed by phone to take two passengers to a home in Menlo Park. However, when the other passenger turned out to be a guide dog, the driver shouted "No dogs" then left.
Another driver reportedly locked the guide dog of a passenger in the trunk of the car. Uber has also reportedly tried to charge the cancellation fees of some blind passengers even though the drivers were the ones who refused to transport them.
Federal law requires taxi services such as Uber to transport service animals for blind passengers but the company said that since they only connect drivers and passengers, it is not covered by laws requiring taxis or transportation services to carry a service animal for a disabled passenger. However, a federal magistrate in San Francisco refused to dismiss the lawsuit last year.
Mark Riccobono, the president of the National Federation of the Blind, released a statement regarding the settlement. He said Uber and similar services could be a great asset to the blind if they are fully and equally available to them. He added that they are pleased with Uber's commitment to "effectively enforce a nondiscrimination policy with respect to blind people who use guide dogs," PC reported.
A judge is yet to approve the settlement but it is expected to pass through without any problem.