(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Commission for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities at the Justice Ministry filed a lawsuit against Gett, formerly GetTaxi, and two of its drivers after they refused service to a visually-impaired man and his guide dog.
The suit, announced by the ministry on Tuesday, was filed at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court and is asking for NIS 125,000 in compensation.
According to the lawsuit, the daughter of Herzl Cohen, who has a visual disability, ordered a taxi in Tel Aviv using the popular app. A driver arrived, and when he noticed that Cohen was accompanied by his guide dog he refused to pick him up.
Despite being repeatedly told that he was obligated by law, the driver refused and drove away, leaving Cohen and his daughter “stunned and hurt.”
Cohen’s daughter ordered another taxi through the application, and the second driver also refused to provide service, the lawsuit states.
According to the Justice Ministry, the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law states that people with disabilities are entitled to participate in an equal and active manner in all spheres of life.
The law explicitly states that it is forbidden for any person providing a public service or operating a public venue to discriminate against a person due to his disabilities. It includes a provision for people with visual impairments and their guide dogs.
“Blind people assisted by seeing-eye dogs frequently use taxis in order to get from place to place. One of the unpleasant experiences that unfortunately repeats itself is that even after the enactment of the equal status law, taxi drivers refuse to pick them up into their taxi, or pass by and do not stop,” said Avrami Toram, commissioner for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“The enactment... was intended to prevent instances of blatant discrimination against people with disabilities and refusal to provide them with service,” he said.
In response to a complaint by the commission, Gett said it “only serves as a mediator between drivers and passengers,” and that “the company is not responsible for any damage, inconvenience, loss or distress caused, directly or indirectly, by drivers....”
However, in the lawsuit the commission alleges that the company was negligent for not instructing its drivers how to treat people with disabilities in general, and people with visual impairments who are accompanied by guide dogs in particular
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