Uber Faces Class Action Over Alleged Widespread Driver Sexual Assault

Marco Green
November 15, 2017

Two anonymous women filed a complaint against Uber in a Northern California district court on Tuesday, with hopes of attaining class-action status on behalf of customers in the US who were "subject to rape, sexual assault, physical violence or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years".

The California lawsuit also notes that this issue of assault is no longer about a "rogue" driver who failed to follow rules, but is a widespread issue.

Sayfullo Saipov had been driving with the company for more than six months.

"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", says the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

In addition to seeking unspecified punitive damages, the plaintiffs are hoping to force Uber to change the way it conducts background checks.

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. Other background checks, like fingerprinting, says the complaint, would go further back.

Uber "must come forward with information about how many reports it has received about rapes, sexual assaults and gender-motivated harassment to allow consumers to assess whether Uber really does provide safe rides, especially to women", said Christensen.

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

"To skirt state and local regulatory scrutiny, Uber labels itself a "technology platform" company rather than a "transportation" company", the complaint reads.

A spokeswoman from Uber told Global News in an email statement at the time that the driver was "permanently removed" from the company.

The complaint argues that the victims' claims are not affected by arbitration clauses in Uber's terms of service with riders, because under California Supreme Court decisions, "Uber can not cause consumers to waive a statutory right to seek public injunctive relief in any forum".

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. That woman is now suing the company for invasion of privacy.

Two anonymous plaintiffs who were assaulted by Uber drivers filed the lawsuit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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