Uber claims it’s “surprised” after being hit with federal court charges after allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Run-Down: The Justice Department’s suit alleges Uber violated the Americans with Disabilities Act for charging fees to disabled passengers who need more time to enter a car.
- The Justice Department is seeking a court order for Uber to modify its wait-fee policy and demanding payment of monetary damages and civil penalties
- Uber states the lawsuit is surprising and that the company was already in talks with the Justice Department to address this issue
- An Uber spokesman said the company changed its policy last week to waive the fee for any rider who identified as physically disabled
- Following this announcement, shares in the company went down more than 5%
Why You Should Care:
In recent years, Uber has become a repeat offender of sorts, appearing in the news and coming under fire for a variety of ethics and compliance-related issues. In August, a California judge held that Uber’s attempt to classify their drivers as independent contractors in the state was unconstitutional. Additionally, earlier this year in the U.K., Uber was forced to grant their drivers an employment status and thus provide new benefits to them.
Uber is a prime example of an organization that is failing to rise to the level of social responsibility that society has come to expect from large companies. As consumers, we look for, and often demand, better out of the businesses we support. As of 2021, the support for labor unions hit an all-time high and 62% of adults were found to support raising the federal minimum wage. Ultimately, consumers are tired of seeing money-hungry behavior from businesses that leads to the mistreatment of the employees or the business-goers themselves.
With this case specifically, Uber’s desire to shift cost to consumers has not only left patrons frustrated, but, even worse, has had a disparaging impact on the disabled community. At a time where the mistreatment of marginalized groups has been at the forefront of conversations, companies must be taking affirmative, proactive stances. While Uber may not have intended to employ discriminatory business practices, they lacked the foresight to analyze what consequences their business decisions could lead to.
This situation is a reminder for all businesses that every action has a reaction. Business decisions need to be made within a socially responsible framework, exemplifying ethical practices at every level. Organizations should take extra care when it comes to cost cutting and cost shifting decisions, and truly consider the clientele when making a final call.