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Rideshare Sexual Assaults

Uber disclosed nearly 6,000 reports of serious sexual assault in 2017 and 2018 combined, as revealed in a safety report released by the rideshare giant in December 2019. The reported cases encompassed both riders and drivers, categorizing assault allegations into five distinct types ranging from non-consensual touching to attempted penetration.

Uber Failure in Background Checks

Uber resolved a class action lawsuit for $28.5 million dollars in 2016 that took issue with the company’s background check procedures. Despite Uber and Lyft’s background check initiatives for drivers, instances of criminal intent persist among some drivers. Concerns regarding inadequate background screenings have been raised, underscored by a 2018 CNN investigation uncovering numerous Uber drivers accused of sexually assaulting or mistreating passengers.

Following the CNN probe, Uber unveiled its inaugural Safety Report, laying bare thousands of sexual assault reports spanning two years, including close to 500 cases of rape. This marked a departure from Uber’s past reluctance to divulge information on sexual misconduct.

The report, which documented 5,981 sexual assault allegations and 19 fatalities from physical assaults over the specified period, highlighted the vulnerability of both riders and drivers. Questions regarding workplace safety for Uber drivers were raised, underscoring broader concerns.

The impetus for the report’s creation stemmed from a lawsuit filed by 14 women in April 2018, alleging sexual assault and challenging Uber’s mandatory arbitration policy. Seeking recourse in open court, the women prompted Uber to lift mandatory arbitration for sexual assault claims, signaling a pivotal shift in the company’s approach.

Lyft Sexual Assault Issues

Uber’s experience is not unique within the rideshare industry. Lyft, in October 2021, issued its own safety report, covering three years and documenting over 4,000 sexual assault reports, including 360 instances of rape. Similar to Uber, Lyft faces allegations of inadequate background checks and insufficient safety protocols, with incidents often inadequately addressed by the company.

Instances where Lyft reportedly failed to acknowledge sexual assault reports, merely offering refunds to affected passengers, underscore broader systemic issues requiring urgent attention within the rideshare industry. In a horrific new development, an NBC News exposé in May 2024 found numerous instances of rideshare companies being utilized to facilitate child sex trafficking. This investigative report was following up on an FBI warning about such activities from October 2022.

MDL Links:

  1. https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges/breyer-charles-r-crb/ubermdl/