Uber Faces Sexual Assault Complaints From 550 Female Passengers

New York: At a time when the ‘Uber Files’ revealed what a joint investigation by global media organizations into leaked confidential files from the ride-sharing company found, the company faces more heat.

Around 550 women across the US have claimed to have been assaulted by Uber drivers and are set to sue Uber Technologies Inc, reported Bloomberg.

A complaint filed by law firm Slater Slater Schulman LLP in San Francisco has alleged that women were “kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed or otherwise attacked” during their rides.

The law firm further claimed Uber has known about sexual misconduct by some of the drivers, including rape, since 2014, and also that said it has about 550 clients with claims against Uber and is actively investigating at least 150 more cases.

Uber has faced complaints of misconduct on the ride-sharing app for long. Its safety report released two weeks ago showed the company received 3,824 reports of five most severe categories of sexual assault in 2019 and 2020. Complaints ranged from “non-consensual kissing of a nonsexual body part” to “nonconsensual sexual penetration,” or rape.

“While the company has acknowledged this crisis of sexual assault in recent years, its actual response has been slow and inadequate, with horrific consequences,” said Adam Slater, a partner at Slater Slater Schulman.

“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 added.

Uber, which has faced numerous lawsuits from women alleging sexual assault by drivers in several countries, had its license revoked in London twice in three years.

Uber’s defence has been that it can’t be held responsible for behaviour of its drivers, who aren’t employees but are contractors.

Uber said in its recent safety report that elaborate background checks of drivers are done before and during their association with the company.

“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. While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we will continue to keep safety at the heart of our work,” Uber said in a statement.

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