One Of The Top Public University Systems In The World May Ban Employees From Using Uber, Airbnb, And Lyft

Re/CodeUber CEO Travis Kalanick

Companies in the sharing economy just can’t catch a break.

The University of California system is considering banning its employees from using services like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb because of issues regarding regulations and liability, the SF Chronicle reports.

The UC system, which boasts some of the top academic universities in the world, employs more than 200,000 people throughout California.

As it stands now, UC employees that use those sharing services are reimbursed if they involve UC business-related travel. But if the ban goes into effect, it would be the first time a government entity banned those services.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has condemned the move, saying the services save money and urging the university to not push back against these innovative services.

“A university that is focused on the future and committed to fostering new technology should not work against innovators and entrepreneurs,” Newsom wrote in a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano.

A ban on these services could make sense, however. If a university staff member were in an accident in an Uber or Lyft car, it’s not clear which entity would compensate them. The staffer could theoretically sue the university for liability. That’s why UC is still looking for ways to overcome safety concerns.

“We are, however, reviewing and evaluating issues revolving around the safety and security of our employees when they use such services,” Steve Montiel, a spokesperson for Napoilitano, said in a statement.

Regulators from the UC system aren’t the only ones that have some concerns regarding the safety of services like Uber and Lyft. Earlier this month, Uber’s own drivers staged a protest outside of Uber’s office in Santa Monica. They’re upset that Uber’s insurance policy only provides coverage for its drivers when there’s a passenger in the car. They’re also peeved with the rating system, since drivers that get consistently bad ratings are at risk of getting booted from the service.

Business Insider has reached out to Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

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