City Attorney David Chiu

Three California cities question Uber’s practices related to transgender drivers

San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego City Attorneys are seeking information after transgender drivers report being barred from the tech giant’s apps

SAN FRANCISCO (February 3, 2022) — San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, and San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott sent a letter to Uber today seeking information on potentially discriminatory practices surrounding transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming drivers. The letter comes as drivers share stories of being banned from Uber’s apps with no recourse and the app using drivers’ “deadnames,” putting their safety in jeopardy.

City Attorney David Chiu
City Attorney David Chiu

“Transgender and gender nonconforming drivers should not have to put themselves in danger or navigate a bureaucratic nightmare just to make a living,” said City Attorney Chiu. “Shielding drivers from workplace violence and ensuring equal opportunity to work are non-negotiable. We look forward to engaging with Uber to ensure that the company has adequate protections and policies in place for transgender drivers.”

“Uber talks a good game when it comes to LGBTQ equality but when the rubber meets the road, they appear to be failing transgender drivers,” said City Attorney Feuer. “As proud community allies, we want to know if these are isolated mistakes or part or a larger pattern dictating who gets to drive for Uber.”

“Sabotaging the ability of transgender and nonbinary individuals to secure employment is unconscionable,” said City Attorney Elliott. “I expect Uber to take swift action to reverse course and commit to treating all employees with dignity and respect.”

Recent media reports have shed light on the difficulties that transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming Uber drivers face navigating the company’s apps. Drivers have reported being permanently banned from the app simply because a government-issued photo ID did not match more recent photographs submitted to Uber that reflect the drivers’ gender identity. Despite multiple attempts to explain the situation with company representatives, drivers remained barred from the app.

Additionally, drivers using the UberEats app have said the app does not show their chosen name and instead shows their “deadname” to customers. When a person is deadnamed, it not only has the effect of outing that person, but it can also potentially put them in a dangerous situation. This is particularly concerning as there is a well-documented pattern of violence towards transgender people in the United States.

Failing to protect the safety of transgender drivers or denying transgender drivers the opportunity to work could open up Uber to liability under various workplace safety and anti-discrimination laws.

While Uber has previously said it would address the concerns raised by transgender drivers, it is not clear whether those statements have led to tangible changes as drivers continue to report facing similar problems with the company’s apps.

The cities’ letter to Uber can be found here.