(NewsNation) — More than 500 sexual assault survivors are suing Uber, alleging the ride-share company focused on growth and profits “at the expense of their passengers’ safety.”
“Thousands of people have been sexually assaulted while thinking they were taking a safe ride home,” said Michael Carney, one of the attorneys with the law firm Slater Slater Schulman LLP that is bringing the lawsuit on behalf of the survivors.
The class-action lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court alleges that 550 female passengers were attacked by male Uber drivers. A news release from the law firm also stated that 150 more claims were being investigated.
The lawsuit says the women “were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, falsely imprisoned, stalked, harassed.”
“…as early as 2014, Uber became aware that its drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers; nevertheless, in the eight years since, sexual predators driving for Uber have continued to attack passengers,” the law firm wrote in the release.
“It’s still a significant problem, and one that the public needs to be aware of,” Carney said.
NewsNation contacted Uber about the lawsuit. A company spokesperson said, “This litigation has been ongoing since February 2022 — and we can’t comment on pending litigation.”
The company also highlighted some of its safety measures: “Users can call or text 911 through the ride-sharing app. ‘Ridecheck’ detects if a trip goes unusually long, or off course, and if that happens the rider is contacted immediately. Drivers are required to go through an extensive criminal background process.”
Legal and cultural analyst Tracy Pearson, who holds a J.D. degree, joined “Morning in America” to analyze the suit against Uber.
According to Pearson, the lawsuit claims that Uber misrepresented the company’s safety record. Uber, she said, “failed to warn and, in fact, moved to lobby against regulations and laws that would subject their drivers to more enhanced background checks that would be akin to what a taxi driver might experience. Therefore, some of these drivers who have been rejected by taxi cab companies can, in fact, drive for Uber.”
Uber recently released its second safety report, which showed 998 sexual assault incidents, including reports of rape, in 2020. Information for 2021 and 2022 was not available.
“You can’t trust the figures that they put out there, because that’s their own self-reporting,” Carney said. “We’re finding out that we’re probably just looking at the tip of the iceberg here.”