Female Passengers Sue Uber for Alleged Violence and Rape by Drivers

Two women who were unnamed on Tuesday filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Uber Technologies, accusing the ride-hailing company of poor vetting of drivers that led to thousands of Uber female passengers enduring a broad range of sexual harassment that included rape.

The two plaintiffs allege that Uber, in attempting to keep profits high, has not screened or monitored drivers properly.

An extensive form of vetting including fingerprinting, which is not required by Uber, and background checks is costly to companies in the form of money and time.

This type of an accusation is familiar to Uber, which was sued by a woman in India who said that her driver not only raped her but that executives at Uber illegally obtained medical records of hers when then tried to discredit her.

The toxic Uber internal culture that a former employee described in a blog post last February as hostile toward females, led to CEO Travis Kalanick being replaced.

The court complaint alleges that Uber does everything it can to continue its use of low cost, inadequate background checks for drivers and failed to properly monitor drivers for any inappropriate or violent conduct once they become hired.

The suit further alleged that as a way of protecting itself from requirements that a transportation company would be required to fulfill, Uber instead has called itself a technology platform thus giving it the ability to avoid regulations that govern drivers for limousine or taxi companies.

Uber said that it was reviewing the court complaint and that the allegations were important to them and are taken seriously.

The complaint noted that drivers for California-based private transportation carriers, where Uber is based, must meet higher standards for “duty of care.”

It says that for limousine and taxi companies they must carry out criminal background checks on drivers and continue to monitor them.

Uber on the other hand is not required to meet that standard since it is not required to be licensed as a private transportation carrier, claims the complaint.

The complaint urges Uber to take drastic changes so its female riders will be safe.

In May, Uber provided an overview in detail of its California safety practices that included a requirement that its drivers undergo local, state and national criminal history checks, which screens several databases around the country including the National Sex Offender Public website of the Department of Justice.