Uber Settlement Addresses Service Animal Lawsuit

Ride-hailing company Uber has asked a District Court in Northern California to approve a proposed settlement to a lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind’s California chapter over refusing rides to passengers with service animals such as guide dogs.

The National Federation of the Blind’s lawsuit, filed in 2014, stated that Uber was in violation of the Amguide_dogs_photoericans with Disabilities Act for denying rides to persons with service animals.

The proposed settlement by San Francisco-based Uber has three major components.

First, the company said it will take steps to make it clearer to drivers through notifications on the Uber platform and via e-mail that they are obligated to transport any passenger with a service animal. With settlement approval, Uber also said it would publish a service animal policy as part of its code of conduct.

Second, the company said that any driver who refused service to a passenger with a service animal would be barred from using the Uber platform.

Third, Uber would pay the National Federation of the Blind $225,000 over three years. The Federation would run a “testing program” to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes. This program would involve passengers with service animals testing the service to ensure policy changes are implemented.

The State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind’s website, www.guidedogboard.ca.gov, offers information and videos on rights, etiquette, and other information for consumers, guide dog teams and trainers, and businesses. You can also call the Board toll-free at (866) 512-9103 or send and e-mail to guidedogboard@dca.ca.gov for more information.

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