California cities demand Uber to ban transgender drivers

City attorneys in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego questioned Uber Technologies Inc’s treatment of transgender drivers and called on the company to explain how it verifies the accounts of transgender drivers. .

Lawyers say Uber’s behavior may violate several anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws that city attorneys are empowered to enforce. in an email to Uber. Letter and statement from the Los Angeles City Attorney. Mike Feier’s office quoted dec. 10 stories published in The Timeswhich was based on the accounts of transgender and non-binary people, some of whom had lost their Uber driver jobs or failed to get registration approval.

For the record:

12:24 February. 3, 2022An earlier version of this story stated that an Uber representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Times did not contact a representative when the story was published; Uber’s claim is now history.

“Uber is trying to talk good game when it comes to LGBTQ equality, but we have serious questions about whether they are failing transgender drivers,” Fejer said in a statement. “We intend to investigate whether the reported incidents are isolated errors or part of a larger pattern that is depriving some transgender drivers of sharing opportunities.”

The Times found that Uber sometimes banned transgender and non-binary people permanently from the platform, treating their photos and documents as fraudulent and suspending their accounts. Drivers’ repeated attempts to resolve issues with the company have been unsuccessful, with blocked candidates telling The Times that they spent hours texting and calling the company’s help desk to no avail.

“We are writing to notify Uber of the potential legal implications of maintaining policies that endanger or disadvantage transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming drivers, and to provide Uber with an opportunity to explain any corrective action it has taken following these revelations. mistreatment,” the company said in a letter.

San Francisco City Attorney. David Chiu said in a statement that protecting drivers from workplace violence and ensuring equal work opportunities are “non-negotiable”.

City of San Diego government. Mara W. Elliott called the treatment of drivers detailed in The Times report “shameless”.

An Uber spokesperson said the company is reviewing the letter from city attorneys and will continue to collaborate “to ensure our platform is inclusive for everyone.”

“We recognize that for transgender and non-binary drivers and couriers, the name and photo on their ID does not always reflect their true identity, and we take their concerns seriously,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Uber has previously said it is working on reactivating the accounts that The Times asked about.

The Times report recounts the experience of several drivers who were blocked when they tried to update their profile information, prompted by Uber June Pride initiatives to improve the platform experience for LGBT people.

The company also said it was working with the National Center for Transgender Equality on a process that allows drivers to display their chosen name on the app and train staff to handle requests.

Drivers interviewed by The Times also spoke of the hurdles they faced at Uber Eats when trying to display their chosen name instead of their “dead name” — a birth name they no longer use after their sex change — raising concerns about about security.

Drivers continued to face similar issues after Uber promised to review and fix transgender driver deactivation issues in a July 2021 letter to the Southern California ACLU, The Times reports.

“Drivers should not put themselves in danger or navigate a bureaucratic nightmare just to make a living,” Chiu said in a statement.