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Uber drivers the focus of class action suit alleging sexual assault

15 November 2017

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". 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. The other was raped by an Uber driver in her apartment in Miami.

"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 lawsuit says.

As an example of the failings of Uber's background checks, the complaint cites the more than 8,000 drivers in MA who were pulled off the road after the state government made a decision to introduce more stringent screenings and reviewed the records of the 71,000 people who drove on Uber or Lyft. But with its growth, the company has come under fire for numerous allegations of drivers committing sexual assaults. In an earlier round of checks dating back to December 2015, the state rejected more than 4,000 applicants in a pool of 74,000 drivers.

"Court orders are needed to force change that Uber should have taken voluntarily", it says.

Here's one such tweet, said to be from an Uber passenger in Las Vegas in October: "This @Uber driver today pulled out his Man part (one eyed snake) and thought I didn't see him so upset here's the video #MeToo".

Uber has been beleaguered by dozens of issues over the previous year. Uber contends that some provisions have disqualified drivers for nonviolent criminal offenses such as drug convictions from a decade ago or more. That lawsuit alleged that Uber mishandled the incident and that company executives improperly accessed her medical records because it doubted her account of the incident. The two women say their Uber drivers assaulted them in two separate incidents, according to court documents.

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The suit says reports of sexual assault and rape perpetrated by male drivers against female passengers have "sky-rocketed" recently, though it does not provide direct evidence to support the claim.

The suit is the latest blow in a year of controversies for Uber, including allegations of rampant sexual harassment in its workplace.

It's been a tumultuous year for the ridesharing company.

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.

Now Uber is trying to turn things around with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber drivers the focus of class action suit alleging sexual assault