California cities press Uber over transgender driver practices

Lawyers for the city of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego have questioned Uber’s treatment of transgender drivers and demanded the company explain how it verifies the accounts of transgender drivers, a move prompted by a Times story that illustrated the hurdles drivers faced during the process.

Uber’s conduct may violate several anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws that city prosecutors have authority to enforce, the attorneys said in a letter to Uber. The letter and a statement from Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer’s office referenced the Dec. 10 article published in The Times, based on the stories of transgender and non-binary people, some of whom lost their jobs as Uber drivers or failed to obtain clearance to register.

“Uber tries to speak a good game when it comes to LGBTQ equality, but we have serious questions about whether it’s failing transgender drivers,” Feuer said in a statement. “We intend to find out whether the reported incidents are isolated errors or part of a larger pattern that prevents some transgender drivers from accessing ridesharing opportunities.”

The Times found that Uber sometimes permanently bars transgender and non-binary people from working for the platform by treating their photos and documents as fraudulent and suspending their accounts. Multiple efforts by drivers to resolve issues with the company were unsuccessful: Stranded applicants told The Times they had spent hours texting and calling the company’s help desk to no avail.

“We are writing to inform Uber of the potential legal ramifications of maintaining policies that endanger or disadvantage transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming drivers, and to give Uber an opportunity to explain any corrective action it has taken. implemented following these revelations of mistreatment,” reads the letter to the company.

Atty of the City of San Francisco. David Chiu said in the statement that protecting drivers from workplace violence and ensuring equal opportunity at work is “non-negotiable”.

Atty of the City of San Diego. Mara W. Elliott called the treatment of the drivers detailed in the Times report “unconscionable.”

The Times reports chronicled the experiences of several drivers who were blocked when they attempted to update their profile information, prompted by Uber June Pride month initiatives aimed at improving the experience of LGBTQ people using the platform. -form.

Uber previously said it was working to reactivate accounts the Times inquired about. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Drivers have also faced obstacles from UberEats when trying to display their chosen name instead of their “dead name” – the birth name they no longer use after the transition between the gender – which raises security issues.

Drivers continued to face similar issues even after Uber promised to undertake a review and fix issues disabling transgender drivers in a July 2021 letter to the ACLU of Southern California, reported the Times.

“Drivers shouldn’t have to put themselves in harm’s way or navigate a bureaucratic nightmare just to earn a living,” Chiu said in the statement.

Bernard P. Love