KEY POINTS

  • Uber Eats received more than 8,500 demands for arbitration over the policy
  • Proud to support black-owned businesses with this initiative: Uber
  • Small or mid-sized, independent Black-owned restaurants qualify for Uber's scheme

Restaurant owners are accusing Uber Eats of discrimination after the company waived delivery fees for some restaurants owned by Black people, TechCrunch reported.

Uber Eats has received more than 8,500 demands for arbitration over the policy from owners of other restaurants,  who are accusing the company of replacing a just system with one that is a racially biased one. One of the complaints, according to the report, accuses Uber Eats of violating the Unruh Civil Rights Act, a law in California that protects businesses from discrimination on the basis of factors that include race.

After the killing of George Floyd in May, the company, in a bid to support the community, waived delivery fees from independent Black-owned restaurants to encourage people to order from those eateries. It was announced a month later that the policy would be extended through 2020.

To qualify for this scheme, restaurants must be small or mid-sized and not part of a franchise or a chain.

“We are proud to support black-owned businesses with this initiative, as we know they have been disproportionately impacted by the health crisis,” Uber spokesperson Meghan Casserly said In a statement to TechCrunch. “We heard loud and clear from consumers this was a feature they wanted — and we will continue to make it a priority.”

In October, Microsoft faced a similar issue when it was in trouble with the U.S. Department of Labor. When the tech company announced its commitment of $150 million over the coming five years to hire more from minority communities, the Labor Department viewed this as a discriminatory practice.

Uber is tangled in other legal battles as well. Recently, a California court upheld a ruling that Uber and Lyft must treat their drivers as employees and give them minimum wage and benefits. In response to the ruling, Reuters reported, Uber stated that this ruling would prevent ride-share drivers from working as independent contractors, putting hundreds of thousands of Californians out of work.

Uber said its freight unit which connects shippers and drivers was valued at more than $3 billion in a new financing round Uber said its freight unit which connects shippers and drivers was valued at more than $3 billion in a new financing round Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson