Uber in trouble again with class action lawsuits from U.S. riders

Smith Collection  Gado  Getty

Smith Collection Gado Getty

Uber has yet another lawsuit on its hands.

Uber (Private:UBER) faces a USA class-action lawsuit from riders who allege they were subject to sexual assault or gender-based violence by Uber drivers. The two women are remaining anonymous. The women claim that Uber has engaged in "fraudulent" and unlawful conduct that misled them believing Uber drivers would safely transport them.

"Uber must make drastic changes to prevent another female rider from harm", said Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor.

Uber, valued at $68 billion, is one of the largest ride-hailing services on the planet, operating in about 70 countries.

Complaints about the validity of Uber's background checks is nothing new, of course. Female drivers also said that passengers had sexually harassed them.

The document suggests that Uber has taken shortcuts in its driver screening.

A spokeswoman from Uber told Global News in an email statement at the time that the driver was "permanently removed" from the company.

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Wigdor brought a similar lawsuit on behalf of two women in 2015, which was later settled. Uber settled that suit in November 2016.

The plaintiffs' legal team hopes to have the claim certified as a class action, in order to represent all those who have experienced sexual harassment and assault from Uber drivers.

Uber's website says the company is "dedicated to keeping people safe on the road" and that its technology "enables us to focus on rider safety before, during and after every trip".

An Uber spokesperson said: "Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it".

Uber has argued that the screening standards applied in Maryland - where thousands of drivers have been rejected upon review since December 2015 - are outdated, overly broad and fail to adhere to a legal standard established by the state Public Service Commission past year.

In addition to board room squabbles, Uber's newly minted chief legal officer Tony West will also have to navigate a trade secret battle against Alphabet's self-driving arm in addition to several federal probes into the company's privacy practices.

Dara Khosrowshahi, the former CEO of Expedia, was picked to succeed Kalanick in August. One executive who was ousted was about a woman who was raped during an Uber ride in India. The suit cites numerous cases of rape, violence and sexual assault- along with screening lapses in Maryland and MA - as evidence of its claim that Uber has prioritized profits over the safety of its passengers. In both instances the women were intoxicated. Focusing on background checks, the lawsuit argues that Uber has created a system within which "bad actors can gain access to vulnerable victims". The class action lawsuit against Uber alleges assault by Uber drivers.

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