Lawsuit: Some female Uber passengers have 'endured rape, physical violence' from drivers

The lawsuit alleges the car service does not do enough to protect women riders.

ByABC News
November 14, 2017, 8:13 PM

— -- A lawsuit filed against Uber today alleges "thousands" of female passengers have endured "rape, sexual assault, physical violence and gender-motivated harassment" while using the popular ride-hailing service.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco by attorneys for two women identified in court documents only as Jane Doe 1 and 2, is seeking class-action status.

Jane Doe 1 lives in Miami and Jane Doe 2 lives in Los Angeles, according to the complaint, and both claim that they were sexually assaulted by Uber drivers.

The complaint states that Uber uses "low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks" for their drivers and does not monitor drivers for "violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired."

Even after allegations of sexual misconduct have emerged against Uber drivers, the lawsuit claims that: "Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers -- especially women."

A spokesperson for Uber told ABC News that the company is currently reviewing the lawsuit, and that the company takes the allegations seriously.

"Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it," the spokesperson said. "These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously."

PHOTO: Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone, Oct. 28, 2016.
Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone, Oct. 28, 2016.

Uber announced earlier this month -- prior to the lawsuit being filed -- that it was implementing a new initiative to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence. Part of the initiative includes an education program for their customer support agents that involves expert training provided by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the company said in a statement posted to its website.

The company simultaneously announced that it was committing $5 million over five years to fund sexual assault and domestic violence "prevention initiatives."

In the statement, Uber outlined some of the app's safety features including "GPS tracking, the ability to share a trip with family and friends, and 24/7 support."

"We will continue to listen, learn, collaborate and build on our commitment to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence," Uber added in its statement.

Jeanne M. Christensen, one of the attorneys with Wigdor LLP, the firm that filed the lawsuit today, called on Uber to make public the number of reports it has received about sexual misconduct.

"The company must come forward with information about how many reports it has received about rapes, sexual assaults, and gender-motivated harassment to allow consumers to assess whether Uber really does provide safe rides, especially to women," Christensen said in a statement.

She added that the recent #MeToo campaign on social media has brought to light many "heinous acts" that female Uber passengers have allegedly experienced.

Christensen continued: "It is time for Uber to 'Do the right thing. Period.'"

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