Lyft has agreed to settle allegations that it violated federal law when some of its drivers refused to give rides to people using foldable wheelchairs or walkers, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, Lyft agreed to pay damages ranging from $4,000 to $30,000 to four complainants with disabilities and a $40,000 civil penalty to the United States.
The San Francisco-based ridesharing company has pledged to revise its wheelchair policies, including notifying new drivers about them, communicate its wheelchair policies once each quarter to current drivers, and create an educational video for drivers.
The company also agreed to implement a complaint procedure that complies with federal law and hold its drivers accountable for failing to comply with its wheelchair policy, with punishment including possible termination.
Lyft agreed to refund charges and provide $10 credits to riders who make plausible complaints of discrimination under the company’s revised wheelchair policy.
For the next three years, Lyft must provide written updates to the Justice Department every six months regarding its compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA.
The Justice Department’s investigation was launched after a man who uses a wheelchair filed at least 12 complaints with the company regarding his treatment from specific drivers in the Los Angeles area. Eight of his complaints alleged that drivers either refused or could not transport him because he had a wheelchair, while four of his complaints alleged that drivers treated him rudely because he had a wheelchair, according to the settlement agreement.
Another Lyft customer, a veteran who lost both of his legs in combat, alleged that on one occasion in November 2018 a Lyft driver denied him a ride because he had a collapsible wheelchair.
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