Uber faces class-action lawsuit over sexual assault by drivers

Uber faces a class-action lawsuit over sexual assault by Uber drivers

In a new lawsuit seeking class action status, two women are using the courts to try to force Uber to change its screening policies and implement stricter background checks for its drivers.

The complaint, filed in a U.S. district court in San Francisco, California, today seeks damages, stricter screening for drivers, insurance coverage for riders, and disclosure of the number of reports Uber has received about rapes, sexual assaults and gender-related harassment.

A handful of states, including California, Massachusetts and Texas, have previously launched investigations into Uber, claiming it routinely fails to adequately screen drivers and has hired drivers with criminal histories.

"Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-priced, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired", the legal complaint reads, according to Recode. The company was banned in New Delhi as a result of an alleged rape in that Indian city, and MA denied licenses to more than 8.000 Uber (and Lyft) drivers based on more stringent guidelines in the state.

"Uber must make drastic changes to prevent another female rider from harm", Jeanne M. Christensen, a partner at law firm Wigdor LLP who's representing the women, said in an email. As alleged, the recent #MeToo campaign has exposed the heinous acts that female riders have been forced to endure during Uber rides.

The plaintiffs in the case call for more transparency from Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who recently overhauled the company's values to include: "We do the right thing".

"Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it", a company spokeswoman said. "These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously", an Uber spokesperson said.

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We've embedded the legal complaint below.

The women say they were assaulted by their drivers and claim the ride-hail company has engaged in unlawful and "fraudulent" conduct that misled them into believing their drivers would safely transport them. Earlier in November, Uber revealed that a terror suspect who drove into a bike path in NY passed a background check just months before the incident.

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.

In the complaint, the women argue that Uber driver screenings only go back seven years. The fast-growing business faced a series of problems related to its public image.

In addition to board room squabbles, Uber's newly minted chief legal officer Tony West will also have to navigate a trade secret battle against Alphabet's self-driving arm in addition to several federal probes into the company's privacy practices.

Last week, John David Sanchez, 52, a former Uber driver who raped one passenger and sexually assaulted more than 12 women was sentenced to 80 years and 4 months in jail.

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