When their Uber driver arrived, a veteran and his wife were shocked when the driver refused them entry and told them he couldn’t allow them in the car because of his religious beliefs. Now, the couple claims the driver’s refusal was inarguably an act of “religious discrimination.”
Peter Archibald, 76, and his wife Marion Archibald, 66, were about to step into an Uber vehicle when the driver suddenly locked the doors and refused them entry. Incredibly, the transporter explained that he wouldn’t allow them to set foot in his car because they would cause him to violate his deep-seated religious beliefs.
Since its founding, Uber has encountered relentless legal trouble, sometimes involving accusations of sexual harassment and assault against its own employees. However, the equal opportunity employer has recently experienced issues with some drivers denying service to customers who apparently offend their faith.
After leaving a local supermarket, the Australian couple called for an Uber cab to shuttle them home with their groceries. Never would they have guessed that their driver would take issue with them and their choice of food product, leaving them stranded in south Melbourne.
According to the Daily Mail, the Seaford woman and her retired veteran husband believe that the driver, who allegedly identified himself as a “Muslim,” refused them service because they were holding a large frozen ham from the local grocer. The couple maintains that the driver looked at them and their ham, which they had won in an RSL raffle, and shunned them before speeding off.
“Peter had the ham in his hands,” Marion told the Herald Sun. “We walked over to the car to put it in the boot. (The driver said) ‘Oh no, what’s that?’ He said he was Muslim. He said we couldn’t get in. I thought he was kidding.”
The couple was shocked by the driver’s statement but found themselves unable to enter the vehicle, 7News reports. According to the Uber employee, his religion didn’t just prevent him from touching or consuming pork products but even transporting them in his company vehicle.
“He said you can’t come in, I’m Muslim and the ride’s finished,” she said. “He drove off.”
The couple was still in shock when the Muslim driver left them stranded outside at 10 p.m. Despite admitting that he couldn’t transport them and their meat product, he didn’t even hail them another cab.
“He shouldn’t have left us there … he could have at least called someone else for us,” she said. “We’ve all got different beliefs but this is ridiculous.”
The attorney general’s office has confirmed that the couple has a case if they would like to pursue a religious discrimination lawsuit. All they would have to do is file a suit under proposed changes to the current Religious Discrimination bill.
“Based on the circumstances described, the driver is refusing to provide a service because the passenger is not adhering to a particular religious practice,” the spokesperson said. “Under the proposed bill, that would be discrimination.
Not only was the couple abandoned and forced to wait even longer in the dark for another ride to arrive, but they were also charged the full amount by the driver for the ride they never received. When they tried to contact the company for a refund, the couple claims they were repeatedly ignored.
After being contacted by the media concerning the incident, Uber finally responded. The company attempted to justify ignoring the couple by reiterating that the charge was a cancellation fee. Before refunding the Archibalds, Uber dismissively explained that if the couple had an issue, they should go to the “help section” of the company’s app.
Uber seems to be dodging inquiries into the allegations of discrimination brought against yet another one of their drivers. However, if the couple so chooses, the company may have a massive lawsuit on its hands not only for the driver’s behavior but also for its own inaction regarding the accusations.