Uber Technologies Inc. is facing a new lawsuit by a gay passenger in West Hollywood, who claims that an Uber driver kicked him out of a car because he kissed his date. This lawsuit is one of many which have attempted to hold Uber responsible for the actions of its drivers.
The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff summoned an Uber ride with a date in March after dinner in West Hollywood. The complaint states that when the two men were picked up, they shared a brief closed-mouth kiss. The driver then allegedly became enraged, yelling obscenities and that the passengers were “f@#$ing faggots”, and ordered the two men out of the vehicle. The driver charged the plaintiff almost $8 for the ride.
The plaintiff’s lawyers filed suit against Uber, claiming that it discriminated against him based on his sexual orientation, and denied him equal access to the services provided by the defendant. The driver is not identified in the lawsuit or listed as a defendant. Uber has not publically responded to the accusations.
The case was filed under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The attorneys claim that Uber was negligent in hiring the driver. They further claim that Uber engaged in unfair business practices by claiming that it supports lesbian, gay, and transgender rights, when it does not. Uber recently ensured riders that Uber prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and publicized a partnership with the It Gets Better Project in honor of LGBT pride month. The lawsuit also alleges that although Uber publically says it’s committed to safeguarding LGBT rights, it refuses to implement the policies, procedures, and training needed to safeguard against discrimination.
This lawsuit is not the first time Uber has been sued for discrimination. It has been accused of discriminating against blind people by refusing to transport guide dogs. In that case, a federal court ruled that the plaintiffs could continue with their claim that Uber was a “travel service” that is subject to potential liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Uber is also facing a class action lawsuit from a group of Uber drivers who claim that they are entitled to employee status and benefits. The drivers claim that because the company controls many aspects of their work, they are not independent contractors, which is what the company claims. A San Francisco federal judge certified the case as a class action earlier this year.
In addition, Uber has been sued for neglecting the safety of its female passengers. The lawsuit claims that Uber aims its marketing at young women, but does not conduct adequate background checks on drivers. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of two unnamed women, says that Uber’s failure to conduct adequate background checks has led to a number of sexual assaults. Uber has not responded to the lawsuit.
Under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, all people are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments. The law provides protection from discrimination in all business establishments in California, including housing and public accommodations because of age, color, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other factors.
Despite the protections in place, discrimination continues to occur in business establishments and public accommodations. If you are in the Oakland-San Francisco area and you have faced discrimination in the workplace or a business establishment, call San Francisco sexual orientation discrimination attorneys Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. They work hard on behalf of their clients to ensure they receive the compensation to which they are entitled. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.