A class action lawsuit has been filed against Uber, claiming that the company hasn’t done enough to inform the public about alleged harassment and assault by drivers.
The legal complaint, filed by Wigdor LLP on behalf of two plaintiffs, alleges that “thousands of female passengers have endured unlawful conduct by their Uber drivers including rape, sexual assault, physical violence and gender-motivated harassment.”
The document suggests that Uber has taken shortcuts in its driver screening. “Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired.”
Jeanne M. Christensen, partner at Wigdor LLP, sent us the following statement about the claims:
As alleged in the complaint filed today against Uber, the Company 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. Uber must make drastic changes to prevent another female rider from harm. As alleged, the recent #MeToo campaign has exposed the heinous acts that female riders have been forced to endure during Uber rides. It is time for Uber to “Do the right thing. Period.”
The lawsuit claims that by labeling itself as a “technology” company instead of a “transportation” company, Uber has been able to avoid costlier background checks.
A spokesperson for Uber responded to the lawsuit, telling us, “Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it. These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously.”
We’ve embedded the legal complaint below.
Earlier this year, a woman who claimed she was raped by an Uber driver in India sued the company. That lawsuit alleged that Uber mishandled the incident and that company executives improperly accessed her medical records because it doubted her account of the incident.
Uber employs two million drivers worldwide, so it’s statistically probable that some of them will go on to commit crimes. But the severity of the above incidents have caused some people to question whether Uber is doing enough to screen its drivers.
Uber asks its passengers to rate its drivers on a five-point scale; some say it could be doing more to encourage riders to report more detailed concerns. It’s unclear whether Uber received complaints specific to these drivers.
It’s been a tumultuous year for the ridesharing company. The fast-growing business has faced a series of problems related to its public image.
After legal situations and questions about its company culture, co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was pressured to step down in June.
The former Expedia CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, took the helm in August.