- Uber is being sued by a woman who alleges the company failed to prevent her sexual assault by a driver in 2018.
- The lawsuit accuses Uber of negligence and deceptive business practices for promoting safe rides, particularly to “vulnerable women,” despite having “historically lax screening procedures” for drivers.
- The lawsuit cites Uber’s history of using of forced arbitration and nondisclosure agreements to keep reports of sexual assault “shrouded in secrecy.”
- Last year, facing criticism over a rising number of allegations, Uber acknowledged that more than 6,000 US customers had filed sexual assault reports in 2017 and 2018.
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Uber is being sued by a woman in New York who claimed the company’s failure to properly vet drivers and monitor their interactions with passengers resulted in her sexual assault in 2018.
The woman, who is not named in the lawsuit, accused Uber of negligence and deceptive business practices for promising safe rides, particularly to women, despite being aware of a “clear pattern” of sexual assaults over the years and not taking steps to protect passengers.
“Despite providing minimal background checks and no oversight or monitoring of its drivers, Uber nonetheless affirmatively induces passengers, particularly young, unaccompanied, vulnerable women, to use its services with the false expectation of safety,” the complaint alleges.
In the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the New York Supreme Court, the woman is seeking a trial by jury and compensatory and statutory damages from Uber for “all physical and economic harm” she suffered as a result of its negligence.
Uber declined Business Insider’s request for comment on the pending litigation.
The lawsuit cites Uber’s track record of failing to prevent sexual assaults as well as its pre-2018 efforts to keep incidents “shrouded in secrecy” through practices such as: forcing customers to pursue sexual assault claims through independent arbitration, rather than in court; requiring survivors to sign nondisclosure agreements preventing them from speaking publicly; and withholding data.
The company has faced intense criticism in past years following widespread allegations of sexual harassment both by employees and passengers.
CNN reported in April 2018 that more than 103 drivers had been accused of sexual assault or abuse. Shortly after, Uber abandoned forced arbitration and nondisclosure agreements for sexual assault claims. Later that year, in its first-ever safety report, Uber disclosed that more than 6,000 US customers had filed sexual assault reports in 2017 and 2018.
The company has also come under fire for misrepresenting the strength of its background checks, agreeing to pay $28.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in 2016 and stop referring to its checks as “industry-leading.” But despite growing concerns over its safety measures, Uber still aggressively lobbied against stronger requirements for ride-hailing drivers.
“Although it constantly touts its safety, in reality Uber knows that its historically lax screening procedures for its drivers has resulted in thousands of women being sexually assaulted by Uber drivers,” the woman claimed in her lawsuit.
“Uber made a deliberate decision to adopt inadequate screening and safety monitoring in favor of profits at the risk of its customers,” she said.
Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Uber.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.