Uber Technologies has lost its bid to have a disability discrimination lawsuit tossed, which claims that its drivers discriminate against the blind by refusing to transport guide dogs.
A federal magistrate Friday refused to dismiss the claims by National Federation of the Blind of California, a nonprofit of blind Californians. The NFBC and three members alleged that Uber and its California subsidiaries discriminate against the blind in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
UberX is an online transportation service that uses mobile software applications to arrange rides between passengers and Uber’s fleet of drivers. , has members who use UberX on Uber’s smart phone application with a text-to-speech feature.
Manveen Chahal and Jamey Gump alleged that they used the UberX software to call an Uber driver. Both men are blind and have service dogs. When the driver arrived he began shouting “no dogs!” and cursed at the two men, according to the lawsuit. The driver then left without transporting Gump and Chahal, the suit states.
Others reported similar incidents in the lawsuit.
Uber sought to have the case dismissed by alleging that the National Federation of the Blind had no authority to sue on behalf of its members and that Uber is not a “public accommodation” and thus is not governed by the ADA.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins ruled the ADA and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act have given the disabled broad right to enforce the laws’ mandates.
Although Cousins rejected Uber’s various claims at this early stage in the lawsuit, several may be raised again as the case goes on, he said.
The next court hearing in the case is June 3.
Case: NFBC v. Uber Technologies, No. 14-cv-4086NC