Uber Faces Class Action Over Alleged Widespread Driver Sexual Assault

Uber Faces Class Action Over Alleged Widespread Driver Sexual Assault

In a new complaint seeking class action status, two women - who are maintaining anonymity - are asking a court to force the $69 billion ride-hail company to change many of its driver screening and other practices on behalf of all USA riders who were "subject to rape, sexual assault or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years".

The women from Florida and California are not identified in the federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in SanFrancisco.

Last week, John David Sanchez, 52, a former Uber driver who raped one passenger and sexually assaulted more than 12 women was sentenced to 80 years and 4 months in jail.

Uber says it's reviewing the complaint and that the allegations are important and will be taken seriously.

"Had Uber not sacrificed passenger safety for the sake of profit and expansion, and actually cared about who it was employing to drive its vehicles, rather than being preoccupied with racing to control its share of the taxi market, at the expense of existing taxi companies and consumers, Plaintiffs herein and proposed Class members would not have been harmed", the complaint says. It seeks safety measures including driver background checks using fingerprints and a panic button for the Uber app that alerts the company and police.

As an example of the failings of Uber's background checks, the complaint cites the more than 8,000 drivers in MA who were pulled off the road after the state government made a decision to introduce more stringent screenings and reviewed the records of the 71,000 people who drove on Uber or Lyft.

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The complaint goes on to describe the litany of problems with Uber's background check procedures, noting that in April, Massachusetts authorities found 8,206 Uber and Lyft drivers out of more than 70,789 failed its screening process, with 1,599 having a history of violent crime and 51 being registered sex offenders.

The document suggests that Uber has taken shortcuts in its driver screening. That lawsuit alleged that Uber mishandled the incident and that company executives improperly accessed her medical records because it doubted her account of the incident.

It's been a tumultuous year for the ridesharing company.

The driver, Nimer Abdallah, carried the woman - who was barely conscious after having two drinks - upstairs to her apartment and allegedly raped her, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also gets into other controversies facing Uber.

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