San Francisco – Nearly 550 women passengers have sued ride-hailing platform Uber, alleging they were assaulted by its drivers, that included kidnapping, rape and physical attacks in the US.
The complaint, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, has sought damages and a jury trial.
The women said in their complaint that they were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed or otherwise attacked by Uber drivers, per a court filing, TechCrunch reported late on Wednesday.
“Uber’s whole business model is predicated on giving people a safe ride home, but rider safety was never their concern, growth was at the expense of their passengers’ safety,” said Adam Slater, founding partner of Slater Slater Schulman, representing the women, in a statement.
“While the company has acknowledged this crisis of sexual assault in recent years, its actual response has been slow and inadequate, with horrific consequences,” Slater added.
The lawsuit claimed that Uber had been intentionally concealing the fact that Uber drivers had been regularly sexually assaulting women since at least 2014 and “instead represented that Uber was a safe mode of transportation.”
The lawsuit also accused Uber of actively giving sexual predators a platform to find and assault women without conducting proper background checks on the drivers or providing adequate safety measures for riders.
According to the latest US safety report by Uber, there were 998 sexual assault incidents, including 141 rape reports, in 2020 alone.
Between 2019 and 2020, Uber received 3,824 reports of the five most severe categories of sexual assault.
Uber’s first safety report, which details incidents from 2017 to 2018, found nearly 6,000 reports pertaining to sexual assault.
Meanwhile, a sensational leaked trove of internal Uber documents has revealed the dark side of the ride-hailing platform that allegedly broke laws and secretly lobbied governments (including in India) as it planned to expand globally.
According to The Guardian, which accessed ‘Uber Files’ with over 124,000 documents from 2013 and 2017, the data “shows how Uber tried to shore up support by discreetly courting prime ministers, presidents, billionaires, oligarchs and media barons”.