550 women sue Uber and expect sexual harassment from drivers

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Uber was sued by 550 female commuters in the US who claimed they were attacked by drivers on the platform.

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The complaint, which was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court on Wednesday by attorneys for Slater Slater Schulman LLP, alleges passengers were abducted, sexually assaulted, sexually beaten, raped, falsely jailed, harassed, harassed or otherwise assaulted by drivers Uber, according to a court filing. They are seeking damages and a jury trial on a long list of claims, including negligence in hiring and supervising drivers, and liability for everything from assault to product design flaws.

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The claim is filed only a few days after Uber files, former Uber lobbyist Mark McCann released 124,000 documents, including internal emails and text messages between executives and politicians. The files, which reveal Uber’s inner workings from 2013 to 2017, detail a history of breaking the law, lobbying and exploiting driver safety.

Last month, Uber released its second US Safety Report, which showed that there were 998 cases of sexual assault in 2020 alone, including 141 reports of rape. Between 2019 and 2020, Uber received 3,824 reports of the top five categories of sexual assault. Uber’s first safety reportwhich details incidents from 2017 to 2018, found nearly 6,000 reports of sexual harassment.

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The lawsuit against the company alleges that Uber deliberately hides the fact that Uber drivers have regularly sexually assaulted women since at least 2014 and “instead represents that Uber was a safe mode of transport.” He also accuses Uber of actively providing a platform for sexual predators to seek out and attack women by not properly screening drivers and failing to provide adequate safety measures for passengers. In addition, the complaint accuses Uber of profiting from trips where women were sexually assaulted.

“Uber’s entire business model is based on giving people a safe ride home, but passenger safety was never their concern — growth was at the expense of the safety of their passengers,” said Adam Slater, founding partner of Slater Slater Schulman, in a statement. . . “While the company has acknowledged this crisis of sexual assault in recent years, its actual response has been slow and inadequate, with dire consequences.”

While 550 women in the US have joined Slater Slater Shulman’s class action lawsuit, the law firm is actively investigating 150 more. And that’s just in the US

One of the chilling facts found in Uber’s files details the company’s strategy to deal with attacks on at least one occasion overseas. When an Uber driver raped a 25-year-old passenger in Delhi in 2014, the company decided “shift blame to incorrect background checks in India“.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, details the claims of at least five women who were victims of sexual predators who drove Uber between 2021 and 2022. The complaint accuses Uber of being obsessed with acquiring new drivers as quickly as possible to spur growth, resulting in substandard background checks.

“For example, former CEO Travis Kalanick deliberately chose to hire drivers without fingerprinting or running their information through FBI databases, and current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has continued this policy since taking office in August 2017. “, the plaintiff’s lawyers said in a statement.

Lawyers in the case say Uber has a long-standing policy of not reporting any criminal activity to law enforcement. Despite numerous other lawsuits filed against the company by women over allegations of sexual assault by drivers, including one in 2018 that was settled by Uber, the company has firmly stated that its drivers are contractors, not employees, and that it is not liable responsibility for their behavior. Uber did not install video cameras in cars to prevent misconduct and had a “three strikes” policy for drivers that kept predators from driving even after serious complaints, according to the law firm that filed the complaint against Uber.

“Uber can do a lot more to protect passengers: add cameras to prevent attacks, perform more robust driver background checks, create an alert system when drivers don’t stay on their way to their destination,” Slater said. “But the company refuses, and so my firm has 550 customers with claims against Uber, and we are investigating at least 150 more. Acknowledging the problem through safety reports is not enough. It is high time for Uber to take concrete action to protect its customers.”

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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