Recode: Uber faces USA class-action suit for driver sexual assault, violence

Mae Love
November 15, 2017

The women claim that while patronizing the ride-sharing company, drivers sexually assaulted them.

"Had Uber not sacrificed passenger safety for the sake of profit and expansion, and actually cared about who it was employing to drive its vehicles, rather than being preoccupied with racing to control its share of the taxi market, at the expense of existing taxi companies and consumers, Plaintiffs herein and proposed Class members would not have been harmed", the complaint says. It further says that Uber targets intoxicated passengers as a safe ride for riders who have been drinking.

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. The company fired 20 employees this year after a wide-ranging investigation into its climate and workplace culture after former employee Susan Fowler detailed how her sexual harassment complaints were ignored by management and human resources employees for a year - and reports abounded about widespread sexual harassment at the company.

In addition to board room squabbles, Uber's newly minted chief legal officer Tony West will also have to navigate a trade secret battle against Alphabet's self-driving arm in addition to several federal probes into the company's privacy practices.

The suit includes information from an October story published in The Washington Post that said almost 15 percent of new ride-hail drivers in Maryland had been dismissed in the preceding six months for failing to meet state regulators' screening standards; of 3,503 applicants dismissed, 460 were booted for disqualifying criminal histories.

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Uber has always been under fire for its background check methods. Hundreds spoke out against Uber on social media sites, saying they'd been harassed by drivers.

The document suggests that Uber has taken shortcuts in its driver screening. They seek compensation for themselves and other victims of sexual and other violent offenses at the hands of Uber drivers, and a legal order mandating that the $70-billion company institute measures to protect passengers in the future. In fact, the state found that 51 of those drivers who were rejected were sex offenders and 352 of them had been accused of incidents related to "sex, abuse and exploitation". "These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously", an Uber spokesperson said.

Uber's website says the company is "dedicated to keeping people safe on the road" and that its technology "enables us to focus on rider safety before, during and after every trip".

Uber regulations differ for Canadian cities. It is time for Uber to 'Do the right thing. "Period." That includes divulging how many reports of sexual assault Uber receives and what it does with those reports. That woman is now suing the company for invasion of privacy.

The lawsuit wants Uber to change how it screens drivers and consider other changes on behalf of the riders.

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