On Wednesday, 500 women filed a case against the U.S. sector of Uber
due to claims that they’ve been assaulted by drivers while using the Uber app and are now suing the U.S. sector of Uber. The potentially damaging case was submitted to the San Francisco County Superior Court on Wednesday.
According to BBC News, women were not only kidnapped but “sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed, or otherwise attacked by Uber drivers.”
Uber argues that they are not held responsible for the behaviors of their drivers, who are contractors rather than employees. Uber also claims that they conduct elaborate background checks of the drivers during its hiring processes.
An Uber spokesman says, “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. While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we will continue to keep safety at the heart of our work.” Attorneys at law firm Slater Slater Schulman claims that sexual assaults took place in “multiple states.”
Conversely, according to reports, Uber was more interested in growth than its customer safety. Adam Slater, a partner at Stalter Slater Schulman, the civil litigation firm representing the women, says, “There is so much more that Uber 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.” He said, “While the company has acknowledged this crisis of sexual assault in recent years, its actual response has been slow and inadequate, with horrific consequences.”
Slater countered Uber’s defense, saying that the “whole business model is predicated on giving people a safe ride home, but rider safety was never their concern – growth was, at the expense of their passengers’ safety,” said Slater.
In a U.S. safety report released by Uber last month, the company revealed that between 2019 and 2020, a total of 3,824 reports regarding the five most severe categories of sexual assault. These categories include but are not limited to: “non-consensual kissing of a nonsexual body part” and “non-consensual sexual penetration,” or rape.
The report also includes 141 rape reports from 2020 and 5,981 reports of sexual assault from 2017 and 2018.
With another 150 potential cases being investigated, the lawsuit claims that Uber has been aware of female riders getting raped or sexually assaulted by its drivers since 2014.