Uber drivers the focus of class action suit alleging sexual assault

Lloyd Doyle
November 15, 2017

Earlier in November, Uber revealed that a terror suspect who drove into a bike path in NY passed a background check just months before the incident. Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers - especially women.

As an example of the failings of Uber's background checks, the complaint cites the more than 8,000 drivers in MA who were pulled off the road after the state government chose to introduce more stringent screenings and reviewed the records of the 71,000 people who drove on Uber or Lyft.

"On notice of the magnitude of the number of passengers who have experienced sexual harassment and gender-based violence, Uber should have made drastic changes to the way that it screens and monitors drivers, as well as advancing safety measures on its app and in vehicles, and disclosed the truth to consumers about its insurance coverage during rides", the lawsuit says.

In the suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Northern California, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 describe being raped by Uber drivers.

It says the firm has resisted changes, such as more stringent background checks, that would improve passenger safety.

The latest lawsuit argues Uber's screenings for drivers only goes back seven years, reports Recode, mostly because the system Uber uses relies primarily on credit reporting systems.

And it recounts a handful of sexual assaults involving Uber drivers among several hundred that have been described in news reports in recent years.

It goes on to say that Uber has failed to address the assault allegations by enforcing stricter regulations on drivers, but instead has prioritized keeping operating costs low for the company.

The lawsuit, which describes the details of the assaults faced by the two plaintiffs, seeks damages for plaintiffs and to force Uber to take steps to prevent assault by drivers.

But this complaint wants to re-litigate both those issues.

The plaintiffs in the case call for more transparency from Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who recently overhauled the company's values to include: "We do the right thing". The other was raped by an Uber driver in her apartment in Miami.

The lawsuit joins a growing list against Uber including a case related to a passenger rape in India and the Uber exec who later unlawfully accessed the victim's medical records. The executive named Eric Alexander, who has since been fired, carted those files around for a year.

Internal Uber customer support documents I previously obtained in 2016 showed that when searching the term "sexual assault" there were more than 6,000 driver or rider complaints that met that query.

The lawsuit also gets into other controversies facing Uber.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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