A new lawsuit is (again) calling into question Uber's background check policies and how it monitors its drivers.
On Tuesday this week, two anonymous women filed a complaint in California against Uber claiming the ridesharing company had falsely presented its service as safe to passengers. Both women say they were raped by Uber drivers.
They state that they ordered the service after a couple of drinks, believing it would be safe.
"Uber's advertising campaigns make the assertion that it provides the best option for a safe ride home after a night of drinking," the suit alleges. "But what happened to These two victims, is happening to women across the U.S. Shockingly, it is happening with greater frequency."
The new suit is seeking class action status to include individuals who have alleged or reported "rape, sexual assault or gender-motivated violence or harassment" by Uber drivers in the past four year. (This is action that needs to happen in London, after it was discovered 13,000 of Uber's drivers had submitted fake criminal record checks.)
The lawsuit claims that "thousands of female passengers have endured unlawful conduct by their Uber drivers" over the past seven years.
In a statement, Uber said it "received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it. These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously." A statement we see time and time again after major complaints.
Attorney Jeanne Christensen from employment law firm Wigdor LLP, who brought the case, is calling on Uber to release data (if they have any) that proves to customers that it is, in fact, statistically safe to ride in an Uber.
Ms Christensen said: "They should be forced to report, on some kind of periodic level, how many reports of assault, rape they've had. And based on the reports, were there investigations that actually resulted in the termination of a driver?" Christensen said in a call with CNN Tech.
Her firm has been following the issue of alleged rape and assault by Uber drivers since 2014, when it filed the New Delhi driver rape case. "I'm not asking for anything crazy. It's not crazy. If they don't have an issue, then they should be waving that data around."
The suit asks for an injunction that would direct the company to make changes to its screening process, as well as implement new monitoring of drivers to protect riders from rape, assault, and gender-based harassment.
Uber has in the past shunned the idea of fingerprint-based background tests in most markets, saying the checks can be costly and slow, and impact the company's ability to constantly bring on new drivers. But public safety should be paramount.
Questions about how the company screens its drivers were raised again earlier this month after the suspect in a terror attack in Manhattan was revealed to be a driver for both Uber and Lyft.
Both Uber and Lyft said they were in contact with law enforcement authorities over the New York attack.
In general, Uber says it searches records for the past seven years. But according to the suit, for drivers who moved to the U.S. less than seven years ago, the company doesn't seek to obtain records in their previous country of residence.
The 58-page complaint filed Tuesday details 17 safety measures that the company could implement to make riders safer. Those include requiring drivers to install GPS tracking systems in their cars rather than relying on the app which can be turned off, as well as performing criminal background checks every six months.
Source : CNNMoney
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
How many times have we heard Uber passengers say they feel safe because their journeys can be tracked by the GPS within the app!
Here we have it, from an independent third party who has stated the obvious....THE APP CAN BE SWITCHED OFF.
Uber has stated time and time again -backed up by statements from TfL directors and managers- that Uber drivers go through the same enhanced criminal record checks as Taxi drivers!
We now know this isn't the case.
In London, where we've seen 13,000 uber drivers allowed to carry on picking up passengers after in was discovered as far back as January that they had submitted fake criminal record check certificates. After this bought to the media's attention by a team at the London Cab Drivers Club, and Helen Chapman's assurance that it would be sorted out within 28 days, three months later we find that only 2,700 drivers have been contacted by TfL to submit new DBS certificates.....
This is a scandalous dereliction of responsibility by Chapman.
We must also remember that this has happened in Mike Brown's watch !
Why hasn't the TfL commission insisted that Uber drivers be suspended for presenting fake documents?
Especially after an FOI request revealed that UberRape had increased this year by 50%.
Any victim of rape or sexual assault from drivers who are on the list of those presenting fake DBS, would well be within their rights and should be encouraged to sue not only TfL... but also Chapman and Brown.
If protocols had been adhered to as legislation demands, these attacks may have been prevented.