Image Source: The Verge
Five hundred fifty women who claim to have been abused by drivers using the ride-hailing service have filed a lawsuit against Uber in the US.
The complaint claims that female passengers have been “kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually abused, raped, wrongfully imprisoned, stalked, harassed, or otherwise attacked by Uber drivers.” The case was submitted on Wednesday to the San Francisco County Superior Court.
An Uber representative told the BBC that sexual assault is a terrible crime and that the company takes every incident seriously.
Attorneys from the legal firm Slater Slater Schulman filed the case claiming that the sex attacks happened in “several states.” It further stated that an “active investigation” is being conducted in at least 150 additional suspected cases.
The lawsuit claims that Uber was made aware of its drivers raping and sexually assaulting female clients as early as 2014. But according to the filing, the business put “expansion over client protection.”
Uber published its second US Safety Report last month, which revealed 998 reports of sexual assault in 2020, including 141 of rape.
According to the report, the business received 3,824 reports of the five most serious types of sexual assault between 2019 and 2020. Additionally, 5,981 sexual assault reports were revealed in the company’s first safety report, which covers incidences from 2017 to 2018.
Uber’s most severe sexual assault types range from “non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part” to “non-consensual sexual penetration,” also known as rape. These accusations are very grave. The sheer number of women who have come forward is astounding. The case is even more harmful to Uber because it may be perceived as proof of the company’s toxic culture.
Several allegations of misconduct were made public by a former Uber executive on Monday. One of the pieces of information he disclosed was that Uber had a kill switch that could be activated in the event that law authorities showed up there to prevent information from being obtained.
According to Mark MacGann, the hacked records revealed a common theme: Uber prioritized growth above all else. Similar allegations are made in this complaint, which asserts that the firm purposefully covered up the fact that Uber drivers had sexually attacked women. In other words, although the firm was aware of an issue, it was publicly claiming that its rides were safe.
The lawsuit claims that the business failed to properly check the backgrounds of its drivers. Uber claims that the business has recently transformed and regrets its previous actions. However, investors are concerned that customers would start looking elsewhere for their next ride because of all the negative coverage.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.