Lawsuit Filed Against Uber for Discriminatory “Star Rating System”

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The lawsuit was bought in the District Court of North California against Uber. The plaintiff claims class-action status on behalf of all the minority Uber drivers who have been terminated due to the Star system. 

Background

The Class Action was bought against Plaintiff Thomas Liu against Uber Technologies, Inc. The main contention of the Plaintiff was that the “star rating system” was discriminatory against the minority drivers. 

The star rating system is where the customers have to rate the experience they had with the driver on a scale. The company has a policy that the driver has to maintain a certain rating, failing which he will be liable to be terminated from services. The plaintiff is an Asian from Hawaii, he had repeatedly noticed passengers being hostile towards him due to his appearance and/or his slight accent. Owing to this discrimination based on his race, he consecutively received lower ratings. For instance, the drivers in the San Diego area had to maintain a 4.6 rating on a scale of 1 to 5, to be allowed to work for Uber. Thomas Liu having less than a 4.6 rating was terminated in 2015. 

The suit had been bought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 1996 as a discrimination suit. Uber Technologies having been headquartered in San Francisco, California, the District Court shall have jurisdiction. 

Issues 

The Plaintiff claimed that relying on a system that depended on passenger evaluation was discriminatory. Further, Uber had complete knowledge of these discriminatory methods that were in use. There was a disparate impact on the minority drivers as they were racially discriminated against when being given a rating. Therefore, since Uber has had knowledge of the same and was allowing the system to continue, there is intentional discrimination against the minority drivers. 

Arguments 

The Plaintiff contended that although he was an independent contractor while working as an Uber driver, he would be classified as an employee under the Federal Law. In the case of People of the State of California v. Uber Tech, Inc, Cal., 1st Dist, 2020, the Court had ruled that the Uber drivers were likely to be determined as employees under the California State Law. 

The Plaintiff also contends that the suit shall be granted the status of a class- action as it gets all the prerequisites of a class- action. 

Allegations and Pleadings 

Count 1 was racial discrimination, a violation of Title VII of the Civil rights Act 1964, 42 U.S.C Section 2000e-2/. The Plaintiff requested the Court to hold the system discriminatory and also rant an injunction forbidding Uber from using this star rating system. Compensatory damages were sought in addition to payback for all the class members who had been terminated. 

Click here to view the Judgement


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