The lawsuits just keep piling up against Uber. Earlier this year, a woman employee penned a blog post that alleged the company had created an environment where female staffers were subject to sexual harassment. Last month, three Latina employees sued the company over unequal pay. This time, the ride-sharing company has been hit with a lawsuit that alleges they’ve been negligent on incidents of rape and assault experienced by women using their service.
Uber’s latest lawsuit claims that thousands of female riders have experienced abuse at the hands of the company’s employed drivers.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Francisco, alleges that female riders had endured rape, harassment and assault from drivers who were working as employees under the ride share company.
A portion of the filed complaint claims that the company skips a general vetting process for its drivers in an attempt to maintain high profits. The lawsuit argues that the company has experienced an ongoing harassment and assault problem as a result and has ultimately put thousands of women at risk. The plaintiffs of the lawsuit are looking to open up the suit to a class-action status.
“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,” the complaint reads according to USA Today.
The complaint alleges that Uber has avoided regulations typically placed on transportation companies by labeling themselves as a “technology platform.”
The lawsuit underlines the fact that California drivers using private transportation carriers are typically held to a higher “duty of care,” in terms of monitoring and vetting their operators. Meaning, by law, taxi cab and limousine companies are required to run criminal background checks on their drivers and ensure that they are monitored. Uber, according to the claim, avoids these standards by not being licensed as a private transportation carrier.
In an effort to ensure the safety of future female riders, the complaint is demanding that Uber make “drastic changes” to its policies.
Jeanne Christensen, a lawyer on the case, concluded in a statement reported by USA Today that 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.”
The suit has been brought forward by a victim whose accusations of rape against an Uber driver were confirmed by the driver himself.
The plaintiff, known on court documents as Jane Doe, ordered an Uber ride home in October of 2016 after a night of drinking in Miami-Dade County. She was barely conscious when her driver, Nimer Abdullah, took her up to her apartment and raped her in her own bed. Doe reported the rape to police the next morning and Abdullah was ultimately arrested and charged with two counts of sexual battery. He eventually confessed to police that he had raped Doe and admitted to being aware that she was drunk while he assaulted her. When Doe contacted Uber about the incident, she was told they would be “taking the appropriate action here.” According to her complaint, the company never confirmed that Abdullah had been deactivated from being a driver for the company. To compensate her, they offered to refund her the $9.51 she had paid for her ride.
The other plaintiff in the case is a Los Angeles resident who said she had also been intoxicated when she ordered an Uber in January of this year. On her ride home, her driver sexually assaulted her in his car and then followed her into her home and raped her.
The attacks on the two plaintiffs were avoidable had Uber done its due diligence, but they’re also just two examples of a stream of similar incidents.
Not only does the lawsuit cite various other cases of sexual assault, but it also highlights hundreds of public tweets from women who had complained about Uber drivers during the #MeToo campaign.