Uber, DoorDash Settle State Claim, End Black Business Breaks | Cronkite News
WASHINGTON – Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash have said they will no longer waive delivery charges for customers ordering from black-owned restaurants in Arizona, to pay state charges that the agreements violate the Arizona Civil Rights Act.
The deal, announced Wednesday, settles a request by the Arizona attorney general’s office that removing fees only for black-owned businesses “unlawfully discriminates against non-black restaurants and their customers.”
The companies “categorically deny any wrongdoing” in the promotions, which were announced last summer at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. The deals ended in December, as planned, but the companies said they would continue to work to support black businesses through efforts such as identifying black-owned restaurants as a separate category on apps.
“We are proud to have supported black-owned businesses and will continue to make this a priority,” a spokesperson for Uber said on Wednesday. “We’ve heard loud and clear from consumers that being able to easily identify black-owned restaurants on Uber Eats is a feature they want and love.”
The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division informed Uber, Postmates and DoorDash in November that the promotions violated the public housing section of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, religion. , sex, national origin or ancestry ”.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, but in a prepared statement he said his office had taken steps “to protect civil rights and ensure that companies offer their services and products on the basis of equal and neutral criteria “.
“Even with the best of intentions, companies can do the wrong thing,” Brnovich said. “Changing the price of goods or services based on race is illegal. “
But company officials have defended the programs they say came at a time when the black community was in particular need.
“The ongoing health and economic crisis has disproportionately devastated communities of color and highlighted disparities of opportunity for vulnerable populations,” said DoorDash spokesperson Taylor Bennett.
“Continuing the long tradition of public and private sector efforts to break down barriers, DoorDash is proud to support black-owned businesses and honored to do our part to help those who need it most,” said Bennett .
A report released in April 2020 by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed that at the start of the pandemic, 21% of black-owned businesses were classified as in financial difficulty, compared with 5% of white-owned businesses.
Under the programs, people who ordered from black-owned restaurants in partnership with the three delivery apps would not be charged a delivery fee for their order. An employee who answered the phone Wednesday at Caribbean Palm, a black-owned restaurant in Scottsdale that partners with DoorDash, said he believed the waived fees “increased business.”
Kiana Maria Sears, president of the East Valley NAACP, called this kind of support “critical” for black businesses “because it will be the foundation of economic justice for the African American community.”
Ricardo Carlo, president of Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona, said minority-owned businesses often struggle to compete in the open market due to misconceptions that are wrong.
“What happens is that they (the customers) see that they are a minority company and think that the quality is not there, when in reality the quality is there and even better,” said Carlo said.
The settlement asks the state to drop its charges against the delivery companies. In return, the companies agree that “all charges and / or discounts on items, goods and / or services offered … will be without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry. From the business owner.
The two agreements – one with DoorDash and the other with Uber Eats and Postmates – include explicit statements that the settlement does not constitute an admission by companies that they have done anything in violation of the law on public housing. The agreements also say no findings of fact were made, but the companies agreed to settle to avoid litigation costs.
Bennett said DoorDash is “ready to put this dispute behind us and re-focus on equitable access to the merchants, Dashers and customers we serve.”
“We all have an obligation to uplift and support underrepresented communities, and we look forward to continuing to do so in Arizona and beyond,” he said.