Taxi rival Uber is facing a class-action lawsuit filed by more than 500 women in the United States over sexual assault and violence by drivers. This was announced by the US law firm Slater Slater Schulman. The plaintiffs accuse the company of not doing enough to address these issues for years. The seriousness of the situation had been clear to management since 2014, but since then there have been many other cases ranging from harassment to kidnapping and rape.
According to its own statements, the law firm represents around 550 clients and is examining at least 150 other cases. When asked, Uber said it could not comment on open legal proceedings. According to the company, the class action lawsuit has been ongoing since February 2022.
Research: 3824 sexual assaults in two years
The problems themselves have been known for a long time. Just about two weeks ago, the group published the results of its own investigation, according to which there were reports of 3,824 sexual assaults by drivers in 2019 and 2020 alone. Uber had therefore had to deal with lawsuits in the past. In 2018, for example, the company accepted a comparison with two women.
Uber said it takes the issues seriously and is taking action. But not everyone buys that from the group. "Uber could do so much more to protect its passengers," said plaintiff attorney Adam Slater. "Cameras to prevent attacks, more robust background checks for drivers, an alert system when drivers deviate from their routes." But the company rejects these measures.
In the past, Uber has defended itself, among other things, by not being held responsible for the behavior of drivers because they are not permanent employees. However, the company also claims to screen its drivers thoroughly and has already introduced safety measures – for example an emergency button in the app.
US company under pressure because of Uber Files
For the US group, which has often been criticized for its aggressive business practices in the past, the accusations come at an inopportune time. Just a few days ago, Uber came under pressure from a major data leak that showed the full extent of the controversial and sometimes borderline legal lobbying work from 2013 to 2017.
However, the documents are from the era of co-founder and ex-boss Travis Kalanick. He resigned in 2017 after scandals ranging from sexism and discrimination to technology theft and espionage affairs. Today, the company distances itself from Kalanick and his methods.