Nov 14, 2017, 8:13 PM ET

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

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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.

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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.Toby Melville/Reuters
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.'"

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

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  • Tim

    Jane Doe 1 + Jane Doe 2 = thousands

  • Juggles

    Dash Cams can be purchased for a fairly low price and would protect both the driver as well as the passenger... I would think if I were an Uber driver that the expense would be worth it.

  • nitenurse22

    As a woman I don't think I would take an Uber without another person with me. Taking any paid ride alone is a scary experience for a woman since you have no control over where the driver can take you. When I take a paid ride it's usually a bus or a shuttle if I plan on being alone.

  • Planet Earth

    One spot where ride services like Uber are "safer" I suppose is that at least when you're selecting a driver you can see their rating from other drivers. With a traditional taxi, you don't get that.

  • Steve Jarrett

    Rape now is defined as being hit on by a guy with whom you're not attracted. These women demean actual rape victims.

  • Boxingwithangels

    Sexual assault training? Are you kidding? If someone is a predator, no amount of training will do anything to squash their urge. How about a criminal & background check. A thorough one.

    And a video camera in every car.

    I don't know how uber works, but I was under the false impression it was a safer mode of transportation than a regular taxi company. Boy, was that wrong.

  • Rudi Stein

    never get in the Uber if it is a windowless van

  • tet1953

    Just like direct real estate rentals, services like Uber are able to skirt regulations put in place to protect people.

  • HamburgerHelperAgain

    Regardless of this particular situation I can predict more stories about Uber in the near future. Bad drivers and bad customers.

  • John Barron

    I guess some deviants see driving an Uber as a way to gain access to women?

    Why are the likes of Weinstein and Moore allowed to moonlight as Uber drivers, is what I want to know.

  • Thomas

    If I were an Uber driver, I would be recording all the time during fare trips.

  • Edup McD

    As usual, anything that starts out w/good intentions can be manipulated by criminals ...
    Consequently, entrprenuers should consider all safety measures when establishing a business for the public ...
    Criminals are not clever, they are simply more aware of predatory tactics as well as possess a heightened recognition for opportunities to commit crimes ...

  • E Douglas Howell

    Paging Gloria Allred..

  • Misty Mac

    I wonder if taxis are safer.

  • tatanka

    Dashcam pointed at the inside of the car -- if I was an Uber driver, I'd have one. "Protects us both."

  • CarlDemaioTouchedMeDownThere

    Roy Moore behind the wheel?

  • Planet Earth

    These companies don't care who's driving for them, as long as a drive and transaction was made.

  • Nathan Broussard

    How does this compare to other driver companies?

  • KlintzDisqus

    Compare the numbers: # of Uber drivers assaulted by their passengers vs. # of Uber passengers assaulted by their drivers.

  • TryNot2Get2Technical

    Uber's risk pool insurance attorneys will settle this quickly, likely before it gets certified as a class action, and they'll gag rule it too.

    Betcha.

  • helicohunter

    Even with proper background checks, you can never 100% guarantee that a driver won't engage in bad behavior. The important thing is that Uber takes reasonable precautions, which they do with the GPS tracking and other features, and that they respond appropriately when an assault is reported. From the story, I don't see evidence that they didn't do that.

  • Molson Cree

    I drive for Uber on occasion, and this is total BS, every ride/driver is kept track of, including time AND GPS positioning. IF this ever still happens it's GOT to be very few and far between.

  • KlintzDisqus

    The issue with this being "widespread" enough for a class action lawsuit is that, low-and-behold, every single Uber driver is KNOWN.

    Any criminal activity would be easy to trace back to the Uber. The victim's location, the driver who arrived, the payment/skipped payment/etc are all recorded.

    It's not like they stuck out their thumb and a total stranger known only to God picked them up.