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Court Rules Uber Must Comply With ADA Rules
The ride-sharing application is subject to anti-discrimination laws, the court ruled Monday
Cover Photo by Stock Catalog, CC By 2.0
On Monday, March 15th, United States District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that Uber’s ride-sharing application is covered by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is therefore subject to anti-discrimination laws.
The ruling is the result of an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a nonprofit civil rights organization fighting against discrimination in public accommodations. ERC filed the lawsuit against Uber in 2017, alleging that Uber discriminates against disabled individuals who use non-foldable wheelchairs. A civil rights investigation conducted by the group found that wheelchair users face longer wait times and higher fares.
Uber had filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that they do not qualify as a public transportation service, and are therefore not subject to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They also contended that ERC lacked the standing to sue on behalf of its members. However, Judge Jackson rejected both reasonings out of hand.
“Indeed, according to the complaint, Uber advertises its service as having ‘[t]ap a button, get a ride’ convenience, and that description indisputably entails providing public transportation to the general public ‘on a regular and continuing basis,” Judge Jackson ruled. “Uber’s assertion that it is not ‘engaged in the business of transporting people’ - either because it is simply a technology company that acts as a conduit between drivers and riders, or because it primarily ‘develops and licenses sophisticated software’ rather than providing transportation - is not a given.”
The ruling is a win for disability rights advocates, who have consistently argued that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are subject to civil rights laws like the ADA in the same way taxi services are.
“We believe Monday’s decision will open doors for wheelchair users and ultimately allow them to finally experience freedom of on-demand ride services that others enjoy,” said ERC Executive Director Kate Scott. “We remain hopeful that Uber will take decisive action to address the discrimination our complaint alleges.”