Posted Jun 3, 2021, 11:48 am
Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash said they will no longer waive
delivery fees for customers who order from Black-owned restaurants in
Arizona, to settle charges by the state that the deals violated the
Arizona Civil Rights Act.
The agreement, announced Wednesday, settles a claim by the Arizona
Attorney General’s Office that waiving fees just for Black-owned
businesses “unlawfully discriminated against non-Black owned restaurants
and their patrons.”
The companies “adamantly 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 scheduled, but the companies
said they will continue working to support Black businesses through such
efforts as identifying Black-owned restaurants in a separate category
on the apps.
“We’re proud to have supported Black-owned businesses and we’ll
continue to make it a priority,” an Uber spokesperson said Wednesday.
“We have heard loud and clear from consumers that the ability to easily
identify Black-owned restaurants on Uber Eats is a feature they want and
The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division notified Uber, Postmates
and DoorDash in November that the promotions violated the civil rights
law’s public accommodations section, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s “race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry.”
Attorney General Mark Brnovich did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, but in a prepared statement
he said his office took the action “to protect civil rights and ensure
businesses offer their services and products based on equal and neutral
“Even with the best of intentions, corporations can do the wrong
thing,” Brnovich’s statement said. “Altering the price of goods or
services based on race is illegal.”
But company officials defended the programs that they said came at a time of particular need for the Black community.
“The ongoing health and economic crisis disproportionately devastated
communities of color and highlighted disparities in opportunity for
vulnerable populations,” DoorDash spokesperson Taylor Bennett said.
“Furthering 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 lift up those who need it
most,” Bennett said.
released in April 2020 by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed
that at the onset of the pandemic, 21% of Black-owned businesses were
categorized as financially distressed, compared to 5% of white-owned
Under the programs, people who ordered from Black-owned restaurants
partnered 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 believes the waived fees “did increase business.”
Kiana Maria Sears, president of the East Valley NAACP, called that
sort of support “critical” to Black businesses “because it will be the
foundation of economic justice for the African-American community.”
Ricardo Carlo, president of the Associated Minority Contractors of
Arizona, said minority-owned businesses often struggle to compete on the
open market because of erroneous preconceptions.
“What happens is they (customers) see that they’re a minority firm
and think that the quality is not there, when in reality the quality is
there and even better,” Carlo said.
The settlement calls on the state to drop its charge against the
delivery companies. In exchange, the companies agree that “all charges
and/or discounts to any items, goods, and/or services offered … will be
without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, national origin or
ancestry” of the business owner.
Both agreements – one with DoorDash and one with Uber Eats
and Postmates – include explicit statements that the settlement does
not constitute an admission by the companies that they did anything in
violation of the public accommodations law. The agreements also say that
no findings of fact were made, but the companies agreed to settle to
avoid the costs of litigation.
Bennett said that DoorDash is “ready to put this dispute behind us
and return our focus to enabling equitable access to the merchants,
Dashers, and customers we serve.”
“We all have an obligation to elevate and support underrepresented
communities, and we look forward to continuing to do so in Arizona and
beyond,” he said.
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