Mobile-based car service Uber was accused of discriminating against blind customers in a complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court.
The National Federation of the Blind of California alleges that Uber drivers systematically refused to pick up blind people with guide dogs. The lawsuit also states that when one driver in Sacramento did pick up a blind customer, the guide dog was stuffed into the trunk.
When apprised of the complaints, Uber allegedly told its blind customers that its drivers are independent contractors, and the company is not responsible for their conduct. The lawsuit also alleges that Uber advised blind customers to let drivers know beforehand that they have guide dogs.
The California federation claims Uber’s actions violate state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Uber has not officially commented on the lawsuit.
The rapidly growing company, now in 45 countries, is fighting a number of legal battles in the U.S. and abroad.
Entrenched yellow cab companies in the U.S. and Europe are closing ranks to pressure their governments to ban Uber. In Germany, Uber is already banned, while in Spain, Sao Paulo, India and Vancouver, cabbies are either filing lawsuits or protesting against the company.
In Milwaukee, five taxi groups are suing the city to prevent it from legalizing mobile ride-sharing apps. And Uber is also facing a number of cease-and-desist orders in the U.S.
San Francisco-based Uber hired former Obama adviser David Plouffe last month to help deal with such mounting issues.