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U.S. DOJ Sues Uber for Disability Discrimination

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The U.S. Justice Department has filed a
lawsuit against ride-haling app Uber, claiming the company is overcharging
disabled passengers.

According to the DOJ, Uber’s ‘wait time’
fees, which charge passengers by the minute if a driver has to wait longer than
a few minutes before starting the trip, discriminate against disabled people
who may need longer than the ‘free’ time allowed to get into the vehicle.

The fees, introduced in 2016 in some cities
and now implemented in various locations around the world, contravene the
Americans with Disabilities Act, alleges the DOJ.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District
Court in San Francisco, is asking the court to order Uber to change its wait
time fee policy and pay damages to those it claims have been illegally
overcharged.

Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general
for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement: “People with
disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the
private transportation services provided by companies like Uber.

“This lawsuit seeks to bring Uber into
compliance with the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act while
sending a powerful message that Uber cannot penalize passengers with
disabilities simply because they need more time to get into a car.”

Uber has said the wait time fee is not
intended to apply to disabled passengers and that it has been refunding riders
who say they were wrongly charged. It says wheelchair-accessible trips or those
booked under Uber Assist are not subject to the wait time policy.

A spokesperson for the company said it had
been in communication with the DOJ before learning of the lawsuit, which it
called “surprising and disappointing.” The spokesperson said the app issued an
update last week whereby if a passenger certifies that they are disabled, any
wait time fees will be waived automatically.

Uber has come under criticism from disabled
passengers in the past, with many saying they’ve been refused rides altogether
or had drivers cancel trips when they realized they were in a wheelchair or had
a service animal with them. In the U.S., it is illegal to deny a person service
based on their disability.

In April this year, Uber was ordered to pay
$1.1 million in damages to a blind woman in California who was refused rides on
14 occasions, which she alleges led to her being fired from her job.



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Bloomberg names Green ME of finance for Americas

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Rick Green

Rick Green has been named managing editor for finance in the Americas at Bloomberg News, effective July 11.

He is currently senior editor for markets at Bloomberg.

Green was previously a team leader for distressed company news. He was also corporate finance editor and a senior editor on the U.S. finance team.

Before Bloomberg, Green was assistant managing editor for business and technology at Newsday. He also worked at BusinessWeek magazine as a senior editor and at SmartMoney magazine.

 





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Liberty Steel secures time with Greensill as debt rstructuring continues

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Liberty Steel Group has entered a standstill agreement with Greensill Bank.

It pauses all enforcement actions between the South Yorkshire headquartered business and the subsidiary of the collapsed financial institution as it focuses on recovery.

Greensill Bank, part of Greensill Capital, is Liberty’s largest creditor on the business’s debt facilities, provided in 2019.

Read more:£26m British Steel Special Profiles upgrade given the go-ahead

The agreement lasts until October 31, with potential to extend until the end of the year.

Liberty said it will enable the company to develop a longer term sustainable financing structure, with detailed due diligence and information exchange continuing between the two parties.

A Liberty spokesperson said: “Today’s standstill agreement with Greensill Bank demonstrates we are getting close to a consensual debt restructuring that is in the best interests of all our stakeholders.

“We are working intensively towards a settlement with our major creditors in a timeframe which would obviate the need for a legal battle. Our core businesses continue to perform well and are operationally strong despite some economic headwinds.”

HMRC had filed then withdrew a winding up petition for Liberty earlier this year as progress with creditors was made.



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At Close of Business: Jordan Murray talks an Australian republic

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Journalist Jordan Murray discusses revived debate over the possibility of an Australian republic.



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