A resident of Washington, DC, is suing Uber for negligence and consumer protection violations, after she was sexually assaulted by one of the drivers of the horse riding company. The victim, including only "Jane Doe" in court documents, claims that Uber presents itself as a safe means of transportation for women, especially if they have been drinking, when in reality they are putting those women in danger.
The victim was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver named Raul E. Rodriguez Vasquez on April 1, 2018, according to court documents. Later he told a social worker, who contacted the police. They collected DNA tests that linked Vasquez to the assault. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse and is currently in jail.
The civil case is the latest example of Uber's continuing problem with sexual assault and Driver Abuse Last year, CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States had been accused of assaulting or sexually abusing their passengers over a four-year period. At least 31 drivers convicted of crimes ranging from loud touching and false imprisonment to rape, and there are dozens of criminal and civil cases pending In June 2017, a Kansas City woman sued Uber after she was raped by a driver, alleging that the company ignored warnings about the driver's criminal record.
In this most recent case, the anonymous victim is seeking $ 10 million in damages both Vasquez and Uber to compensate for the physical and emotional injuries suffered by the assault. Vásquez is represented as an "agent and employee" of Uber, contrary to Uber's ratings of its drivers as independent contractors. This is common in civil cases against Uber and its drivers, as the plaintiffs seek to portray the horseback riding company with almost complete control over their drivers and their actions. Uber usually resolves these cases for undisclosed sums instead of letting them go to trial.
Doe states that Uber "failed to comply with her obligations" to her as a client by not "warning her of the risk that her services represented for women, and in particular for women who had consumed alcohol or who were intoxicated." Uber markets says Doe, as a designated driving service through its advertisements and participation with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. But women who use Uber in this way are at "peculiar risk" of being sexually assaulted by their drivers, he says.
Uber has long struggled with accusations of assault and harassment, both between drivers and their own employees. An engineer named Susan Fowler wrote a widely read essay in which she described several incidents of harassment and described Uber's corporate culture as toxic to women. An investigation was initiated and, finally, dozens of employees were dismissed. The company was sued in 2017 by a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India after it was reported that senior executives, including former CEO Travis Kalanick, had obtained and mishandled their medical records in an effort to discredit her. . Kalanick was finally expelled from his position.
In the run-up to their expected public offering, Uber's top executives are trying to make passenger safety a top priority. "I want Uber to be the safest transport platform on the planet," said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi last September. He said they would do this by adding new features to their application, including a panic button for passengers to communicate directly with 911. Thanks to the pressure of the defenders, the company, for the first time, collects data on sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced by both pilots and drivers, and they will publish their first report in 2019.
A spokesperson for Uber did not respond to a request for comment.