An American mediator ruled in favor of a blind customer who accused Uber of discrimination because of her disability. Lisa Irving claimed to have been refused shopping 14 times by drivers, who did not accept her guide dog on board.
At the end of an arbitration procedure, the VTC giant was ordered to pay 1.1 million dollars (approximately 920,000 euros) to the plaintiff. The amount to be paid corresponds to $ 324,000 in damages and $ 805,313 in reimbursement of legal costs, details the San Francisco Chronicle.
Uber denies responsibility
In its judgment, the American Arbitration Association ruled that Uber did not comply with American law, according to which people with disabilities must be able to travel with the animals that assist them. The arbitrator refuted the argument put forward by Uber, which did not consider itself responsible for the behavior of drivers who are not its employees.
In a statement, the company deemed the mediator’s decision to be wrong. “We regularly train drivers in the responsibility” of obeying laws protecting people with disabilities, Uber said.
More than 60 refusals in total
In her complaint, Lis Irving said that the refusals of support by several drivers in 2016 and 2017 had made him arrive late for work several times and had made him miss one of his birthday parties and a Christmas mass. In total, she says she has suffered more than 60 refusals and experienced humiliating situations.
The decisions of an arbitration system, however, do not have the same force as those of a court of law in the United States. They cannot, for example, set a precedent. The mediator’s opinion “should help others [plaignants] with courts and arbitrators, ”commented Jana Eisinger, one of Lisa Irving’s lawyers.