Recode: Uber faces USA class-action suit for driver sexual assault, violence

Uber is facing a class action lawsuit from US riders alleging assault

Uber is facing a class action lawsuit from US riders alleging assault

In a new complaint seeking class action status, two women - who are maintaining anonymity - are asking a court to force the $69 billion ride-hail company to change many of its driver screening and other practices on behalf of all USA riders who were "subject to rape, sexual assault or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years".

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".

For a detailed account of Uber's background check policies, read the Recode piece.

Complaints about the validity of Uber's background checks is nothing new, of course.

The document reads that many US states have strict monitoring of taxi drivers, and some even require cameras in vehicles, but Uber does not have comparable regulations.

Uber did not immediately comment on the allegations, but said it was reviewing the lawsuit. Focusing on background checks, the lawsuit argues that Uber has created a system within which "bad actors can gain access to vulnerable victims".

"Court orders are needed to force change that Uber should have taken voluntarily", it says. Another Uber driver allegedly picked up passengers between shootings.

This lawsuit comes as the ride-hail company is working to revamp its image after a tumultuous year wrought with public scandals.

Former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company in June, following a string of controversies including the #DeleteUber campaign, allegations of widespread harassment and footage of him berating a driver in a conversation about fares.

But this complaint wants to re-litigate both those issues.

It says Uber has skirted regulators by classifying itself as a technology company but it is essentially a taxi company with drivers that should be considered employees.

Uber regulations differ for Canadian cities. "Period." That includes divulging how many reports of sexual assault Uber receives and what it does with those reports. Uber also settled that suit, but the issue was reignited last spring after it was alleged that Uber executives obtained and mishandled her medical records. That woman is now suing the company for invasion of privacy. Last week, Khosrowshahi wrote a LinkedIn blog post about Uber's "new cultural norms" saying what made the company successful won't get it to the next level.

"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".

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