Story at a glance
- City attorneys in three California cities are calling on Uber to describe and provide its photo and name verification policies for transgender and nonbinary drivers, warning of potential “legal ramifications” for alleged mistreatment.
- A Los Angeles Times report in December claimed the accounts of trans and nonbinary drivers were suspended or blocked because their photos and documents were deemed “fraudulent” by the Uber and UberEats apps.
- Uber has previously promised to take corrective action to address concerns raised by trans and nonbinary drivers and delivery people.
City attorneys in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have warned Uber of potential “legal ramifications” after reports surfaced of the rideshare service’s alleged mistreatment of transgender and nonbinary drivers.
In a letter dated Feb. 2, city attorneys called on Uber to reveal its naming protocols and verification processes for trans and nonbinary drivers after a Los Angeles Times report in December claimed the accounts of trans and nonbinary drivers were suspended or blocked because their photos and documents were deemed “fraudulent.” Many have tried to appeal but were unsuccessful.
Transgender and nonbinary people also struggle to change their name in the Uber and UberEats apps, according to the LA Times report, reporting multiple instances of “deadnaming,” or referring to a trans or nonbinary person by their birth name after they have changed their name as part of their gender transition.
The public display of a person’s deadname can not only be detrimental to their mental health, but can also pose serious safety concerns, particularly as trans and gender nonconforming people face elevated rates of violence.
Uber in June promised to take corrective action to address concerns raised by trans and nonbinary drivers by allowing them to “display only their self-identified chosen first name, without requiring the display of their legal name.”
In July, Uber in a letter to the ACLU of California said it would review the accounts of transgender and nonbinary drivers that had been deactivated, according to the LA Times report.
City attorneys this month called on Uber to detail the steps it has taken to improve the treatment of trans and nonbinary drivers and delivery people on its platforms. They also requested the company provide all information related to background checks, fraud prevention and other policies involving photo or name verification.
“Uber tries to talk a good game when it comes to LGBTQ equality, but we have serious questions about whether it is failing transgender drivers,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement after the letter was sent. “We intend to find out if reported incidents are isolated mistakes or part of a larger pattern that locks some transgender drivers out of rideshare opportunities.”
Uber did not immediately respond to Changing America’s request for comment, but an Uber spokesperson told the LA Times that it was reviewing the city attorneys’ letter.
“We recognize that for transgender and nonbinary drivers and delivery people, 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.
“Transgender and gender nonconforming drivers should not have to put themselves in danger or navigate a bureaucratic nightmare just to make a living,” San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu said in a statement.
“Shielding drivers from workplace violence and ensuring equal opportunity to work are non-negotiable.”
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