ADA in the News July 20, 2022

Uber Commits to Changes and Pays Millions to Resolve Justice Department Lawsuit for Overcharging People with Disabilities

The Department of Justice filed in court today a multi-million-dollar settlement agreement with Uber Technologies Inc. (Uber) to resolve a lawsuit alleging that Uber violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement, Uber will offer several million dollars in compensation to more than 65,000 Uber users who were charged discriminatory fees due to disability.

In November 2021, the department filed a lawsuit alleging that Uber violated Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination by private transportation companies like Uber. According to the complaint, in April 2016, Uber began charging passengers wait time fees in a number of cities, eventually expanding the policy nationwide. The wait time fees started two minutes after the Uber car arrived at the pickup location and were charged until the car began its trip. The department’s complaint alleged that Uber violated the ADA by failing to reasonably modify its wait time fee policy for passengers who, because of disability, needed more than two minutes to get in an Uber car. Passengers with disabilities may need additional time to enter a car for various reasons. A passenger may, for example, use a wheelchair or walker that needs to be broken down and stored in the car. Or a passenger who is blind may need additional time to safely walk from the pickup location to the car itself. The department’s lawsuit alleged that, even when Uber was aware that passengers’ need for additional time was clearly disability-based, Uber started charging a wait time fee at the two-minute mark.


U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches ADA Settlement with Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc.

United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota completed its investigation and entered into a settlement agreement with Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. ("Ulta") to resolve allegations that Ulta violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). Specifically, a complaint alleged that Ulta refused to allow an individual with a disability who uses a service animal to enter Ulta with her service animal. Ulta operates a retail store located in Fargo, North Dakota, where the alleged incident occurred.

During its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that the complainant attempted to enter Ulta with her service animal. An Ulta employee told the complainant she was not allowed to enter the store with her service animal, and incorrectly told her a North Dakota cosmetology statute prohibited service animals without documentation.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities who use service animals may enter places of public accommodations, such as retail stores, with their service animals. There is no requirement that individuals with disabilities show any documentation, licensure, or certification, nor is there a requirement that the service animal be wearing any vest, harness, or collar that indicates it is a service animal.


Justice Department Secures Agreement with Jefferson County, Kentucky, Officials to Ensure Polling Place Accessibility

The Justice Department has secured an agreement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Jefferson County, Kentucky, Board of Elections to ensure that the Board’s polling places are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The department identified architectural barriers at numerous polling places after it reviewed the Jefferson County Board’s voting program for compliance with the ADA. These barriers included inaccessible parking, ramps that were too steep, walkways that had steep cross slopes or had gaps and bumps and voting machines that could not be accessed by voters with mobility disabilities. The department also identified that the Jefferson County Board fails to provide voters with disabilities privacy and independence while voting.


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