The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday (July 18) settled with Uber Technologies for several million dollars related to a lawsuit that alleged Uber violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by overcharging more than 65,000 riders with disabilities, according to a DOJ press release.
The department filed the lawsuit in November 2021, alleging that Uber violated Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination by private transportation companies, per the release. The complaint alleged that Uber began charging passengers wait time fees, starting two minutes after the Uber car arrived at the pickup location and running until the car began its trip, in several cities in April 2016 before expanding the policy nationwide.
The DOJ’s complaint also alleged that Uber violated the ADA by failing to reasonably modify its wait time fee policy for passengers who, because of a disability, needed more than two minutes to get in an Uber car.
Uber will credit the accounts of more than 65,000 eligible riders who signed up for the waiver program for double the amount of wait time fees they were charged, an amount that could reach millions of dollars, according to the release.
The company will also pay $1,738,500 to more than 1,000 riders who complained to Uber about being charged wait time fees because of disability, and $500,000 to other harmed individuals identified by the DOJ.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the press release. “This agreement sends a strong message that Uber and other ridesharing companies will be held accountable if their services discriminate against people with disabilities.”
Earlier this month, The Guardian revealed thousands of leaked files explaining the extensive help Uber got from leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and ex-European Union Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
The Uber files are a trove of more than 124,000 records, including 83,000 emails and 1,000 other files, spanning 2013 to 2017. The information revealed how a $90 million-a-year lobbying and public relations effort recruited friendly politicians to help in its campaign to disrupt Europe’s taxi industry.