Food Delivery Companies Wanted to Support Black-Owned Restaurants. Arizona’s Attorney General Deemed It Discrimination

AP Photo, File

By Lorraine Longhi

June 2, 2021

“Even with the best of intentions, corporations can do the wrong thing.”

Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash will no longer waive or discount delivery fees for Black-owned restaurants, following charges brought against the companies by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office announced Wednesday that it had settled charges of discrimination it had brought against the companies after they waived delivery fees for Black-owned restaurants last year.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted across the country last summer, a number of companies and organizations reaffirmed their commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts by waiving delivery fees for Black-owned businesses. The movement also prompted delivery services to provide customers with a way to more easily find Black-owned restaurants.

“Uber Eats is committed to standing with Black communities,” the company said after announcing a push to better identify Black-owned restaurants.

But in November, the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division filed charges against Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash, alleging discrimination against non-Black-owned businesses. Last fall, Uber told TechCrunch it had received more than 8,500 demands for arbitration after it eliminated delivery fees for some Black-owned restaurants.

The AG’s Office called the move unlawful discrimination against non-Black-owned restaurants, and a violation of the Arizona Civil Rights Act.

DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates denied the allegations, but ultimately settled with the AG’s Office over the claims, according to the companies’ settlement agreements.

Brnovich said in a statement Wednesday that his office opened the investigation to protect civil rights and ensure that services were offered based on “equal and neutral criteria.”

“Even with the best of intentions, corporations can do the wrong thing,” Brnovich said in the statement. “Altering the price of goods or services based on race is illegal.”

The companies agreed to adopt policies saying they would not offer free delivery or delivery fee discounts to restaurants based on race, sex, religion, or nationality, according to the settlement agreements.

The settlements do not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by the companies, but the settlement with DoorDash was reached to avoid “costs and disruption” of continued litigation.


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