March 17, 2018

Uber Faces Class Action Over Alleged Widespread Driver Sexual Assault

15 November 2017, 02:23 | Melvin Schneider

Uber Faces Class Action Over Alleged Widespread Driver Sexual Assault

A man arrives at the Uber offices in Queens New York U.S. Feb. 2 2017

The lawsuit was filed by two anonymous women, including a Florida woman who police say was raped by an Uber driver after he took her home.

The women are requesting damages for their own alleged assaults along with an injunction against the company that would require it to conduct more rigorous background checks on its drivers and change other company practices.

Two women are suing Uber for allegedly misrepresenting the safety of its platform. The complaint also claims this supposed negligence creates a risky environment for customers who are often intoxicated and vulnerable when they use the service.

USA Today reported that the women are alleging that Uber's lax screening of its drivers has subjected thousands of female passengers to a range of sexual harassment or sex assault.

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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 The companies argued that fingerprint databases can be outdated and that the process would slow the hiring process.

The lawsuit describes all the access Uber provides for drivers to commit sexual assault. After agreeing to let MA handle background checks on drivers, the state found that more than 10% of Uber and Lyft drivers did not make the cut. Officials in London also revoked the company's license in 2017 over similar concerns, though Uber is still allowed to operate in the city while the decision is under appeal. "These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously", the ride-hailing firm said in a statement.

"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. Uber says the groups have helped it train 150 customer service agents for a team to deal with sexual assault reports.

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.

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