Uber Slapped with Class-Action Lawsuit over Rape, Violence

Toby Melville  ReutersUber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone Oct. 28 2016

The two plaintiffs, known as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, are asking the court to order the ride-hailing company to strengthen many of its driver screening practices, reported Recode, a technology news site.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California on Tuesday, is on behalf of women passengers who experienced "rape, sexual assault, physical violence or gender-motivated harassment" by Uber drivers.

It also cites former Uber employee Susan Fowler's blog post earlier this year that detailed a culture of sexual harassment and sexism at the company.

The two plaintiffs allege that Uber, in attempting to keep profits high, has not screened or monitored drivers properly.

Uber said that it was reviewing the court complaint and that the allegations were important to them and are taken seriously.

"Instead, over the last seven years, Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-priced, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired".

The lawsuit states that both women were sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers, and accuses Uber of creating a system that fails at both preventing and handling these incidents of sexual violence.




In a statement provided to Bustle, Jeanne Christensen, one of the attorneys representing the Jane Does, says that 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".

One of the reasons Uber's background checks on drivers are so faulty is keeping costs down, women allege.

The lawsuit hits Uber months after the company over the treatment of women in its corporate offices.

"This is no longer an issue of "rogue" drivers who act unlawfully", reads the suit. But it stopped short of requiring ride-sharing companies to submit drivers to fingerprint background checks conducted by the government.

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

The company simultaneously announced that it was committing $5 million over five years to fund sexual assault and domestic violence "prevention initiatives". The Uber driver was charged with "Rape by use of drugs".

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