Lawyers seek group suit over alleged Uber sex assaults

Lawyers seek group suit over alleged Uber sex assaults

Lawyers seek group suit over alleged Uber sex assaults

"These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously", Uber said in a statement. Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers - especially women. Another Uber driver allegedly picked up passengers between shootings.

The complaint describes several actions Uber could have taken to prevent assault, including barring registered sex offenders from driving on Uber permanently; requiring in-person screenings for drivers; installing video surveillance in Ubers; performing criminal background checks every six months; requiring drivers to tell Uber within 24 hours if they are indicted or charged with any felony involving violence or issued a restraining order related to domestic violence; and a host of other potential solutions.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses Uber of repeatedly fighting efforts to improve customer safety in states across the country and names MA and Maryland as examples where its failures to adequately screen drivers were allegedly exposed.

Those newly banned drivers had passed both Uber and Lyft's company screenings. 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.

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Reviews of Uber driver applications by two USA states, Maryland and MA, have led to rejections of thousands more applications than under Uber's own system. Maryland does not track specific crimes committed by drivers.

Two anonymous plaintiffs who were assaulted by Uber drivers filed the lawsuit. Commission staff had been applying a broader vetting criteria until late last month, the company argued.

Two women are suing Uber, alleging that inadequate driver background checks and monitoring left them and thousands of others vulnerable to sexual assault.

The unidentified plaintiffs allege they were raped by Uber drivers in separate incidents in Florida and California.

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It asks the court for unspecified damages to compensate the women, and also seeks court-ordered safety measures including fingerprint background checks for drivers and a panic button on the Uber app that would alert the company and authorities to safety problems.

Uber, however, insisted that only 170 of those had claims of sexual assault and that the rest may have been "reports from riders who were making claims about sexual assault on other transport services, discussions about sexual assaults in the news, and reports about passengers who got into cars that were not Uber vehicles and were then sexually assaulted".

This lawsuit comes as the ride-hail company is working to revamp its image after a tumultuous year wrought with public scandals.

Former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company in June, following a string of controversies including the #DeleteUber campaign, allegations of widespread harassment and footage of him berating a driver in a conversation about fares.

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