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Uber’s woes continue with language legal loss

Uber has lost a challenge to overturn a ruling that will require all drivers operating on its platform in the UK must undergo an English language proficiency test, which the company says will result in the loss of drivers.

The ruling, which will apply to all private hire drivers in London, not just Uber, means that anyone that wants to join the company to offer rides to passengers will need to pass a much stricter English language test than was previously required, which Uber argued was unfair. It plans to appeal the ruling.

Uber’s legal counsel said that the decision would mean up to 70,000 potential drivers would no longer be able to work with the company over the next three years. Drivers have, since October, had to prove that they have passed an exam in English when renewing their licenses or if applying from a non-English speaking country.

Critics of the new requirements say that the new tests for drivers that don’t have an English qualification already is excessively difficult and much more expensive than neccessary because it includes a written component that Uber has always argued is not required.

However, according to the BBC, the High Court ruling upheld the assertion from Transport for London (TfL) that proficiency in English is vital to ensure passenger safety.

The news is yet another negative point in the company’s last few weeks, which has included a female engineer alleging that she was sexually harrassed, Google suiing Uber for allegedly stealing self-driving car tech (a claim which the company denies), misleading people about an incident involving one of its self-driving cars, its Senior Vice President of Engineering leaving over claims of sexual harrassment while working at Google, its Senior Vice President of Product and Growth resigning suddenly and the revelation that it used a programme called ‘Greyball’ to evade authorities looking to clamp-down on the ride-sharing service in their towns and cities.

Add in Uber CEO Travis Kalanick getting in an argument with an Uber driver caught on video, and vowing to get leadership help, and Uber’s had a very bad few weeks indeed.

Related: Man sues Uber over iPhone bug that revealed his affair

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