Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Uber is facing a class action lawsuit from United States riders alleging assault

Uber is facing a class action lawsuit from United States riders alleging assault

Uber's image has been tarnished by findings of sexual harassment of employees and multiple reports of drivers assaulting passengers. One such case against the company settled under confidential terms in November 2016.

Two anonymous women filed a complaint against Uber in a Northern California district court on Tuesday, with hopes of attaining class-action status on behalf of customers in the US who were "subject to rape, sexual assault, physical violence or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years".

The plaintiffs argue that Uber misrepresented the safety of its service and that the company's current method of allegedly using credit-reporting systems to screen drivers is inadequate because it only goes back seven years.

Jane Does 1 and 2 are seeking an injunction that would direct Uber to implement a number of changes, including a stricter screening process and a policy that subjects existing drivers to immediate conduct reviews.

The lawsuit claims that by labeling itself as a "technology" company instead of a "transportation" company, that Uber has been able to avoid costlier background checks.

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Three days later, the 50-year-old marketing executive was sacked by her company, government contractor Akima. Briskman hasn't yet announced a new job, but - rather predictably - she does have at least one offer.

An Uber spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Here's one such tweet, said to be from an Uber passenger in Las Vegas in October: "This @Uber driver today pulled out his Man part (one eyed snake) and thought I didn't see him so upset here's the video #MeToo". It also seeks damages for the alleged harms the victims have endured, plus punitive damages. It is time for Uber to "Do the right thing. These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously", Uber said in a statement. Maryland, too, has conducted background checks on behalf Uber and Lyft and found that not all drivers pass its standards.

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. That is exacerbated by the company "targeting" intoxicated passengers with claims that Uber is a life-saving option for riders who've had a few drinks, the women allege.

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

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