The lawsuit against Uber comes a month after Uber released a US Safety report revealing nearly 1,000 sexual assault incidents.
The complaint, filed Wednesday in San Francisco, claims that Uber has known since 2014 that drivers have sexually assaulted and raped female customers, but has “prioritized growth over customer service,” according to a statement from attorneys Slater Slater Schulman who are representing the alleged victims.
In June, Uber published its second US Safety Report showing that nearly 1,000 passengers were sexually assaulted in 2020 by app drivers across the US.
The statement from the attorneys alleges that women have been “kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harrassed,” by Uber drivers they were matched to in the app.
Adam Slater, founding partner at the firm, said more can be done to protect passengers, including adding cameras to deter assaults, performing more background checks on drivers and a warning system that alerts when drivers change destination.
Uber declined to comment.
Uber is now valued at a $42.36 billion market cap. Founded in San Francisco in 2009, Uber has a history of impressive growth, but also controversy. Starting as a car service, the company later expanded to other services like UberPool (multiple parties in a ride), UberEats (delivery food from different restaurants) and it became a publicly traded company. The company has been surrounded by a series of scandals – including allegations of a sexist work culture, lack of safety measures for passengers and failure to comply with a request from California regulators for information on sexual assault claims. In 2018 Uber introduced a new technology to monitor US drivers for new criminal offenses and background checks, resulting in 80,000 drivers being removed from the app till this date. Some other safety measures include GPS tracked trips, the option to share your ride with other contacts and a 911 assistance emergency button in the Uber app.
Uber said that sexual assault claims decreased by 38% from its first report from 2017 to 2018, but data remains unclear since it corresponds to 2020 during COVID-19, when Uber reported a decrease by 80% of drives.
By Gabriela Lopez Gomes, Forbes Staff