In a new lawsuit seeking class action status, two women are using the courts to try to force Uber to change its screening policies and implement stricter background checks for its drivers.
The lawsuit is seeking compensation for rapes, assaults, and harassment that riders have experienced — specifically passengers who were “subject to assault or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years.”
The plaintiffs claim that Uber’s inadequate screening is exacerbated by the company “targeting” intoxicated passengers by advertising Uber as a life-saving option for riders who are too drunk to drive.
“Uber has done everything possible to continue using low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks on drivers and has failed to monitor drivers for any violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired. Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers — especially women. This is no longer an issue of “rogue” drivers who act unlawfully.”
Internal customer support documents obtained from Uber in 2016 showed that more than 6,000 driver or rider complaints include the term “sexual assault,” although Uber claims the actual number of assaults is far lower.
Last week, John David Sanchez, 52, a former Uber driver who raped one passenger and sexually assaulted more than 12 women was sentenced to 80 years and 4 months in jail.
One of his victims was a 13 year-old girl. Prosecutors say Sanchez gave his victims Xanax, marijuana and alcohol before raping them and videotaping the assaults.
Sanchez pled guilty to 34 counts of rape and sodomy of an unconscious person and felony sexual assault for incidents that occurred between 2011 and 2014 in San Diego, California.