The law is very clear on one thing, if you have a service animal you cannot be refused service for any normal service that anyone else in the general public is provided – including Lyft & Uber rides. Every reasonable accommodation must be made, and this is federal law, called the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), for those that want to play dumb. So what if the Lyft (or Uber or even taxi) driver is “allergic” to dogs? The law still stipulates that every reasonable accommodation must be made. In fact, over 90% of ALL service animals are Hypoallergenic for this very reason – something that most drivers never even consider, and neither did Jarrod Romine after he likely broke federal law on Monday by denying access to the Lyft service to a passenger with service animal.
Jarrod decided to use the “allergic” excuse when breaking federal law, despite not having any medical documentation on file with the Lyft corporate or local office. Having an ‘allergy’ to a dog is, in fact, not a valid excuse for denial of a ride. If you are a server or host in a restaurant, you cannot refuse service to a customer with a service animal, instead you make reasonable accommodations – such as finding another server or host to accomodate the customer, that isn’t “allergic” (we remind you that virtually all service animals are hypoallergenic for this very reason – but the driver didn’t even take the time to ask, he made an assumption, which caused him to break federal law). The proper response would have been to call the Lyft Critical Response Line (855-865-9553 for reference) at the point of service so that another driver could be immediately dispatched, or more likely the scenario would be the folks at the Critical Response Line would have informed the driver that he likely wasn’t allergic to a hypoallergenic service animal in the first place – but none of this matters, because the driver has ZERO medical documentation or evidence previous to this even that he is ‘allergic’ to dogs, or dander, or anything for that matter. Just his word, which is used by many ride-share drivers, because they don’t want to have to vacuum the vehicle out after the ride (though most service animals are trained to ride in the floor by the rider’s feet).
The ADA law specifically names private taxi companies, which are the closet to a ride-share company:
In fact, avoiding service animals is so common in the ride-share industry, here is the advice of a Lyft driver, who claims it has worked for him every time: “As you approach the PAX with the seeing eye dog, turn off your engine and coast to a stop. Wait silently for five minutes, cancel, passenger no show, collect five dollars.” With an attitude such as this, Federal ADA lawsuits will soon be popping up all over Nashville – as they already have in many parts of the country where Lyft and Uber operate.
QUESTION! I was driving for lyft and as I approached the rider I saw he had a dog. I said sorry I’m allergic and he got disrespectful and said he’s gonna get me kicked off the system cause I didn’t have that on file. Lyft sent an email saying I’ve been temporarily suspended pending the “investigation”.
How long will this take? Thanks everyone.
We haven’t heard any outcome yet from Jarrod or Lyft – come back for updates, soon!