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Uber driver sues company for discrimination; claims fired over accent mistaken for intoxication

Discussion in 'News' started by BurgerTiime, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. BurgerTiime



    A local man filed a lawsuit against rideshare giant Uber, claiming that the company wrongfully fired him after riders misinterpreted his speech impediment as intoxication and reported him.

    The former driver, Matthew Pack, said that he was fired after the company failed to properly investigate complaints made against him by riders who thought his speech, which was impaired as the result of a stroke, indicated that he was driving drunk.

    "[Uber] failed to engage in an interactive process to determine how to accommodate [Pack's] disability ... and terminated [Pack's] employment based on his disability," stated a complaint filed in SLO County Superior Court by Pack's attorney, David Hamilton.

    According to the lawsuit, Pack suffered a stroke in 2012. While it did not impact his ability to drive, it did leave him with slurred speech at times. Pack began driving for Uber in 2017 and was "excited about his new career path," the complaint stated.

    "This was something he took great pride in as he enjoyed being able to work despite the obstacles he had to overcome due to his disability," Hamilton wrote.

    Pack's trouble first began in October 2017, when Uber received a report from a rider that stated that he "appeared to be impaired" while driving. The lawsuit claims that Uber suspended Pack from work for 48 hours and did not respond to his offers to take a drug test and send them a dashboard camera video from the ride. Uber got similar reports about Pack in January and June of 2018, even after he placed a sign in his car explaining his medical condition and speech.

    Again, Pack claimed that the company never requested any documentation or other evidence of his disability. Uber terminated Pack on June 5.

    "This is horrible," Hamilton told New Times. "It's not an appropriate way for a company to behave."
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2018
    Yooper, melusine3, Tysmith95 and 14 others like this.
  2. MHR

    MHR Moderator

    At one point we had a member here that was claiming the exact same problem...speech impediment and pax reporting him as intoxicated.

    Good to see someone has filed suit. I see ADA violations in Uber’s future.
  3. Yeah, man, that's a tough one for the driver.

    Uber can help bridge the gap for this driver. The driver stated that he placed a sign in his car stating he had the medical issue so I don't see why uber couldn't, with his permission, send a note to each of his riders explaining the situation in a small popup window in the app when the ride is accepted so riders see it. Hell that might even boost the guy's tips, and it sounds like maybe he could really use them.

    They could also send it prior to allowing riders to provide feedback for any rides with him.

    This one seems to me to be surmountable quite trivially.
    MoreTips, Judy2017, melusine3 and 8 others like this.
  4. Lee239


    Lee county fl
    In law you have to do something to mitigate the damages. Put a sign up saying that you have a speech impediment please be respectful or patient.

    OOps answered before seeing all the responses tough****e

    All they have to do is code the account so that reports of intoxication are followed up with a question asking if the driving seemed to be impaired and if they filmed it for proof.
  5. MHR

    MHR Moderator

    And businesses have to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. I know that’s for employees. Don’t know how that plays out with drivers being IC’s
  6. I don't know, seems to me like maybe that's more a reactive attempt at a solution and by the time that's employed the rider doing the complaining has already become committed to their "he was drunk story."
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  7. HotUberMess


    Uber would do all of these things if they were respectable and operated like a legitimate company but they don’t and they aren't.

    What they need is a CEO who will lead them to legitimacy, not a PR jester.
    MoreTips, Judy2017, Danny3xd and 21 others like this.
  8. Yeah he's self employed and as the employer he needs to provide the reasonable accommodation for himself I suspect is how that plays out. It think in government contracts provisions are made for situations like this, but for rideshare we may be stuck in a legal dark area which I'm sure uber will use to its advantage.
    MHR likes this.
  9. MHR

    MHR Moderator

    It states he placed signs in his ride. Damage already done by then but honestly, GL Hub and Uber should have asked for a “statement of disability” from the driver then made any impaired driving accusations against him null and void. They could have made that work, don’t ask me how but they are a technology company as we like to say.
    tohunt4me, negeorgia, SuzeCB and 7 others like this.
  10. What is also ridiculous is that Uber never bother to ask a passenger why they didn't stop the ride with the so-called impaired driver. Uber and Lyft could clearly state to passengers that they should stop any ride and get out when they believe that their driver is impaired. But, we all know the reason why 95% of these passengers wont get out, its because they are just submitting false claims to get free rides.

    Clearly, Uber staff cannot manage their business competently and are unqualified to make these deactivation decisions. These situations need to be handled by an external independent party who can assess the facts and eliminate the financial reward for the complaining passenger.
  11. PioneerXi


    Uber would deactivate if the driver failed to provide service to a rider with a disability. It’s how they mitigate their liability.

    Appears driver has done their due diligence (subject to documentation).

    Uber is not above ADA law.

    IMO, driver will be getting an Uber settlement to avoid creating legal precedence for the remaining drivers.
  12. 1.5xorbust


    San Diego
    Yeah he’s just using his stroke induced speech impediment as an excuse so that he can get ****faced before he goes driving.
  13. Daisey77


    Bwahahaha they can't even send out an email to drivers about instant pay being down or that trips are not being processed. Hell they can't even send out an email when a policy changes. You can't really expect them to add a pop-up to protect the driver, can you? I mean if they did, that means they could add a pop-up to passenger accounts, verifying they are over 18 yrs when ordering:eek:

    We had a driver here that was accused of driving while impaired. He offered to go down and do a breathalyzer or a BAC and pay for it out of his own pocket. Uber said no good. It didn't matter. They wouldn't accept it
  14. I don't know. I think that technically they're more than capable of doing the notices. The problem isn't technical it's leadership. They don't have the right people in charge of rider/driver issue quality control.

    In fact that's just a small subset of quality control but I think overall there quality control is all over the wrong places.
  15. Daisey77


    Sorry there was no sarcasm emoji LOL yes I completely believe they're more than capable of putting out any type of notice. They choose not to
    tohunt4me, Texie Driver and Wonkytonk like this.
  16. SEAL Team 5

    SEAL Team 5

    Uber will pay Matthew Pack $200k in an out of court settlement to make this problem go away. Matthew walks away with $134k and the attorney gets $66k for filing suit and answering about 5 phone calls. Definitely don't want an ongoing lawsuit over a disability during your IPO.
  17. Seamus


    New York
    I sincerely feel bad for the driver and as everyone else has already said with a very small effort Uber could have done something to remedy this and have made this all avoidable.

    Having said that the Driver has a HUGE obstacle to overcome in that currently he is not viewed as an employee but an IC and therefore no employment law protections apply to him. Even under contract law, if he didn't take exception to the arbitration clause in the Uber TOS when he signed up his suit will be quickly tossed. For him to be successful his lawyer will have to convince the judge he is an "employee" before he will be allowed to proceed. A large task.

    Wouldn't be surprised if it's settled out of court.
  18. nickd8775


    NJ / Philly
    If a driver was impaired, why wouldn't the rider do something like actually drive the car themselves like that guy in India did
    tohunt4me, Mista T, MHR and 2 others like this.

    Using Groundless allegations as an EXCUSE !

    THEY MUST PAY !!!!!
  20. There was a cab driver I knew (he has since retired)

    About once a week he got reported for driving under the influence, and about once a week he was forced to pull over and have safety department drive out and...

    They made him walk the line and touch his nose, blow a breathalyzer ect.

    about once a week for years they did this crap to him.

    That's how a professional company handles accusations of impaired driving.

    PS... the dude is one of the safest drivers i know...
    Hannibalb and tohunt4me like this.

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