Uber sued by over 500 women claiming they've been assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped by drivers

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By Asiya Ali

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Uber is being sued by more than 500 women who claim they were assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped by drivers who work for the ride-hailing platform.

The complaint was filed on Wednesday (July 13) in San Francisco County Superior Court by attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP – a law firm focused on representing survivors of catastrophic and traumatic events.

The firm said it has around 550 clients with claims against the company, and at least 150 more are being actively investigated.

The filing also alleges that the company was aware "Uber drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers" from as "early as 2014".

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Credit: Russell Hart / Alamy

The claims come nearly two weeks after Uber released its second safety report. In it, the company revealed that they received 3,824 reports of the five most severe categories of sexual assault in 2019 and 2020.

The reports varied from "non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part" to "non-consensual sexual penetration," or rape.

According to court documents obtained by People, it is also alleged that women in multiple states were "kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed, and/or otherwise attacked," by a driver.

The document also states that while Uber has identified the "sexual assault crisis" in recent years, it has "failed to implement basic safety measures necessary to prevent these serious sexual assaults, which continue to occur to this day."

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Uber headquarters, San Francisco, California. Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy.

"Uber's whole business model is based on giving people a safe ride home, but rider safety was never their concern – growth was, at the expense of their passengers' safety," said Adam Slater, Founding Partner of Slater Slater Schulman LLP, to People.

"There is so much more that the company can be doing to protect riders: adding cameras to deter assaults, performing more robust background checks on drivers, creating a warning system when drivers don't stay on a path to a destination.

"But [Uber] refuse[s] to, and that's why my firm has 550 clients with claims against Uber and we're investigating at least 150 more."

Bloomberg Law reported in March 2020 that: "Uber has introduced a number of safety options in recent years, such as screening drivers when they sign up on the platform and once a year after that."

"Still, the company has maintained in lawsuits that it can’t be held responsible for its drivers, whom it considers independent contractors rather than employee," the publication added.

At the time, the transport company also announced that it would partner with RAINN, the nation's largest sexual violence organization to "expand sexual misconduct and assault education to all US drivers," and "design [the] program".

Per CNBC, Adam Slater – a founding partner of Slater Slater Schulman – said 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 horrific consequences."

A spokesperson for the company also released a statement to People, saying: "Sexual assault is a horrific crime and we take every single report seriously."

"There is nothing more important than safety, which is why Uber has built new safety features, established survivor-centric policies, and been more transparent about serious incidents," the statement read.  "While we can't comment on pending litigation, we will continue to keep safety at the heart of our work."

Featured image credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy

Uber sued by over 500 women claiming they've been assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped by drivers

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Uber is being sued by more than 500 women who claim they were assaulted, harassed, or kidnapped by drivers who work for the ride-hailing platform.

The complaint was filed on Wednesday (July 13) in San Francisco County Superior Court by attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP – a law firm focused on representing survivors of catastrophic and traumatic events.

The firm said it has around 550 clients with claims against the company, and at least 150 more are being actively investigated.

The filing also alleges that the company was aware "Uber drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers" from as "early as 2014".

wp-image-1263136358 size-full
Credit: Russell Hart / Alamy

The claims come nearly two weeks after Uber released its second safety report. In it, the company revealed that they received 3,824 reports of the five most severe categories of sexual assault in 2019 and 2020.

The reports varied from "non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part" to "non-consensual sexual penetration," or rape.

According to court documents obtained by People, it is also alleged that women in multiple states were "kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed, and/or otherwise attacked," by a driver.

The document also states that while Uber has identified the "sexual assault crisis" in recent years, it has "failed to implement basic safety measures necessary to prevent these serious sexual assaults, which continue to occur to this day."

wp-image-1263161576 size-full
Uber headquarters, San Francisco, California. Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy.

"Uber's whole business model is based on giving people a safe ride home, but rider safety was never their concern – growth was, at the expense of their passengers' safety," said Adam Slater, Founding Partner of Slater Slater Schulman LLP, to People.

"There is so much more that the company can be doing to protect riders: adding cameras to deter assaults, performing more robust background checks on drivers, creating a warning system when drivers don't stay on a path to a destination.

"But [Uber] refuse[s] to, and that's why my firm has 550 clients with claims against Uber and we're investigating at least 150 more."

Bloomberg Law reported in March 2020 that: "Uber has introduced a number of safety options in recent years, such as screening drivers when they sign up on the platform and once a year after that."

"Still, the company has maintained in lawsuits that it can’t be held responsible for its drivers, whom it considers independent contractors rather than employee," the publication added.

At the time, the transport company also announced that it would partner with RAINN, the nation's largest sexual violence organization to "expand sexual misconduct and assault education to all US drivers," and "design [the] program".

Per CNBC, Adam Slater – a founding partner of Slater Slater Schulman – said 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 horrific consequences."

A spokesperson for the company also released a statement to People, saying: "Sexual assault is a horrific crime and we take every single report seriously."

"There is nothing more important than safety, which is why Uber has built new safety features, established survivor-centric policies, and been more transparent about serious incidents," the statement read.  "While we can't comment on pending litigation, we will continue to keep safety at the heart of our work."

Featured image credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy